Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Google employees raise concerns over its contract with US Defense Dept

Published:Saturday | June 2, 2018 | 9:37 AM

The technology firm, Google has reportedly told employees it will not renew a controversial contract to do artificial intelligence work for the United States Department of Defence.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), citing sources at Google, says top executive Diane Greene told staff yesterday that there would be no follow-up after the current contract with the US Pentagon expires next March.

The decision comes amid strong opposition within the technology giant's workforce to the Pentagon project known as Maven.

Project Maven involves the use of machine learning and engineering talent to distinguish people and objects in drone videos.

The contract is reported to be worth just under US$10 million to Google, but could potentially lead to more extensive cooperation with the Pentagon.

A number of Google employees have resigned while some 4,000 members of its workforce have signed an open letter complaining that, by its involvement in the project, the technology giant was putting users’ trust at risk “as well as ignoring its moral and ethical responsibility.

The employees fear that the project is the first step towards using artificial intelligence for lethal purposes.

There has been no official statement from Google.

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