More than 3,000 employees have opposed Google’s involvement with a Pentagon program, by signing a petition. The disgruntled Google employees don’t want their employer to turn Artificial Intelligence (AI) into what they call “warfare technology.”
The letter is addressed to the company’s chief executive Sundar Pichai. Google engineers are urging Pichai to remove the company from the controversial defense project, which seeks to improve drone targeting via AI. Employees also called for a policy that would bar the tech giant or its partners from ever taking part in the development of warfare tech.
Gizmodo learned in March that Google offered the U.S. defense Department access to its AI tech. The tech will be included in Pentagon’s Project Maven. According to people family with the matter, Google engineers were outraged that the technology they have been working on will be used in warfare.
The U.S. government first unveiled the controversial project in May 2017. At the time, the military described it as an effort to collect “actionable” intelligence faster with help from machine learning.
Google’s Involvement in Pentagon Program Reportedly “Non-Offensive”
Some of the program’s goal is simply to automate big data collection and administrative tasks. Yet, Google’s tech could enable the U.S. military to identify targets faster in the footage provided by drones.
Google insisted that its involvement in Pentagon program was “non-offensive,” but the company’s employees believe that such decision would just tarnish the tech giant’s reputation.
Amid growing fears of biased and weaponized AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust,
the employees’ petition reads.
They argued that just because Amazon and Microsoft are working with the U.S. military, it doesn’t mean that Google should do it too. Employees reminded Google that it has a “unique history” and that one of its parent company Alphabet’s mottos was “Don’t Be Evil.”
Image Source: Defense.gov