Google reportedly pitched the Pentagon a "Google-earth-like" AI surveillance tool

Google reportedly pitched the Pentagon a

Google reportedly pitched the Pentagon a "Google-earth-like" AI surveillance tool

Google is ending its participation in a controversial Defense Department program after coming under fire from employees ethically opposed to using the company's artificial intelligence technology for assisting military operations, Gizmodo reported Friday.

Gizmodo reports Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene informed employees in a meeting today that the company would continue work through the end of the current contract, sometime in 2019, but no further. The Project Maven contract is also apparently worth more than Google executives once said, pulling in around $15 million instead of the $9 million that was previously reported. News of the company's involvement with the Pentagon sparked a heated outcry from advocates, academics, the general public, and even many of Google's own employees, some of whom later quit as a form of protest. Thousands of staff signed the petition, which stated: "Google should not be in the business of war". "Google has promised to release its ethical policy regarding the development of artificial intelligence technologies next week".

Representatives for Google did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

"Not being able to tap into the huge talent at Google to help DoD employ AI in ethical and moral ways is very sad for our society and country", he added.

Google is not the only tech firm working with the United States military. Audricia Harris, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said it "would not be appropriate for us to comment on the relationship between a prime and sub-prime contractor holder". Project Maven was Google's first major contract with Pentagon after which the company was eyeing for bigger contracts with intelligence agencies.


"Maven is a large government program that will result in improved safety for citizens and nations through faster identification of evils such as violent extremist activities and human right [sic] abuses", Scott Frohman, defense and intelligence sales lead at Google, wrote in an email in September 2017.

The Times said Pichai addressed the matter at an all-staff meeting last Thursday, telling employees that the firm intended to come up with a list of principles about its use of artificial intelligence for military means.

But higher-ups apparently viewed the Project Maven contract as a gateway into future work.

"I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen". Its budget also had the possibility of growing to as much as $250 million.

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