Google Workers Are Revolting

Thousands of Google employees have signed an open letter asking the Internet giant to stop working on a project for the US military. Project Maven involves using artificial intelligence to improve the precision of military drone strikes. Employees fear Google's involvement will "irreparably damage" its brand.

"We believe that Google should not be in the business of war," says the letter, which is addressed to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

"Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled, and that Google draft, publicise and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology."

Now Google have decided not renew a contract to do artificial intelligence work for the US Pentagon, company sources say.
The decision follows the strong opposition in the technology giant's workforce. Numbers of Google employees resigned and thousands signed a petition against taking part in the Pentagon project, known as Maven. 

They feared it was the first step towards using artificial intelligence for lethal purposes. There has been no official statement from Google. 

According to company sources, top executive Diane Greene told staff there would be no follow-up after the current contract expired next March. But Kate Conger, a journalist for the technology news website Gizmodo, told the BBC that Google had not cancelled Project Maven and did not appear to have ruled out future work with the military. 

The contract is reported to be worth less than $10m (£7.5m) to Google but could potentially lead to more extensive cooperation with the Pentagon.

Project Maven involves using machine learning and engineering talent to distinguish people and objects in drone videos.
In April up to 4,000 Google employees signed an open letter saying that by its involvement in the project the internet giant was putting users' trust at risk, as well as ignoring its "moral and ethical responsibility".

Internal emails suggested that executives saw the contract as a huge opportunity while being concerned about how the company's involvement would be perceived, Gizmodo reported.

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