Google employees resign in protest of Google/pentagon drone program ars_ab.settitle(1308809)

MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle

MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle

Project Maven was commenced in April of 2017 by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, who started an Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team.

The resignation came after hundreds of employees protested Google's involvement in the Defense Department's Project Maven in an internal letter.

About a dozen Google employees reportedly left the company over its insistence on developing AI for the U.S. military through a program called Project Maven.

So much so that nearly 4,000 employees have reportedly signed an internal petition asking Google to end its participation in Project Maven, saying the project "will irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent".

Project Maven is seeking to use machine learning and computer vision techniques to improve the gathering of battlefield intelligence.

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Essentially, the company is using machine-learning algorithms and AI to help the United States military assess drone footage quickly. It's meant to detect vehicles and objects, track their movements and report this information back to the Department of Defense.

"The technology flags images for human review, and is for non-offensive uses only", a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo in March.

"At some point, I realised I could not in good faith recommend joining Google, knowing what I knew".

One of the resigning employees says this step should have been taken before Google agreed the contract.

"I tried to remind myself right that Google's decisions are not my decisions", said another resigning Google staffer.

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"I'm not personally responsible for everything that they do". "Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns". The employees also stated that company executives now seemed less interested in listening to workers' objections than they did earlier.

However, growing pressure from employees, it seems, had little impact on the decision of the Google company continues its work on Maven and is considered one of the leading contenders for the other major contract for cloud computing in the Pentagon: joint security infrastructure of enterprises.

"The more we see these discussions taking place", he continued, "the more we see a stretching of the legal framework, as the existing legal framework gets reinterpreted in ways that enable greater use of machine decision-making, where previously human decision-making would have been assumed".

In March, several employees at Google said they were outraged about the project, some stating that it was a contradiction of its onetime motto, "Don't be evil".

The group said it was "deeply concerned" that the data Google collects on people's lives through its products could be integrated with military surveillance data for targeted killing.

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