Google draws up guidelines for its military AI following employee fury

Google draws up guidelines for its military AI following employee fury

Indeed, nearly 4,000 of Google employees recently signed a petition asking Google to cancel the project.

Project Maven, which would have provided AI and image recognition tech for analyzing drone footage, has received plenty of backlash.

The debate around the project centres on Google's corporate image - its unofficial slogan was "Don't Be Evil" for years - and, although some say AI could help reduce civilian casualties from drone strikes, others believe the company should not be engaging with military at all on principle.

It appears Google has finally conceded, as Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene announced today in a company meeting that the Project Maven contract will not be renewed after it expires in 2019. But Nvidia has declined to comment on whether it's participating in Project Maven.

"I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen". Those guidelines may give disappointed employees and a curious public more clues as to how Google plans to navigate AI research, and the sort of contracts it may pursue.

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Furious staff members have flooded message boards, attended fractious meetings, created anti-Maven stickers, and resigned in protest.

Wow. Kudos to all the Google employees who forced the company's hand on this. Company officials have told employees in recent months that the deal was seen as a gateway to further, more lucrative government work, the source said.

Internal emails, reviewed by Gizmodo, suggest that Google's leadership was initially very enthusiastic about the project, as it could lead to more military contracts in the future.

The company, however, has not committed to forego signing other military contracts dealing with artificial intelligence, according to multiple people with knowledge of the decision. Additionally, e-mails showed the project was initially worth $15 million, but the budget could grow to be as high as $250 million.

Selling cloud computing services, including the object detection tool being used with drone footage, is one of the top areas Google is counting on to diversify revenue. "Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled, and that Google draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology". It was officially launched a year ago by the US Department of Defense Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team.

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