Google will not exceed its contract next year with the Department of Defense for artificial intelligence used to analyze drone video. Google exposing a controversial alliance that had raised alarms over the technological build-up between Silicon Valley and the military.
The tech giant will stop working on its piece of the military’s AI Project Maven when the 18-month contract expires in March.
Google, has faced a widespread public backlash. Along with, employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting. The report informed Google would soon release new company principles related to the ethical uses of AI.
The move is a setback for the Pentagon’s push to supercharge the military’s potential with powerful AI. This could help process battlefield data or pinpoint military targets.
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.”
“We value all of our relationships with academic institutions and commercial companies involved with Project Maven,” Harris said. “Partnering with the best universities and commercial companies in the world. And will help preserve the United States’ critical lead in artificial intelligence”.
Google’s self-image is different. It once had a motto of don’t be evil. A number of its top technical talent said the internet company was betraying its idealistic principles. Even as its business-minded officials worried. As the protests would damage its chances to secure more business from the Defense Department.
About 4,000 Google employees signed a petition demanding a clear policy. It states that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.” A handful of employees resigned in protest. While some were openly calling on the company to cancel the Maven contract.
The sudden announcement Friday was welcomed by several high-profile employees.
Meredith Whittaker, an AI researcher and the founder of Google’s Open Research Group, tweeted, “I am incredibly happy about this decision. I have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen. Google should not be in the business of war.”
The Pentagon has said AI is a top priority. Also, it is moving aggressively to develop a “Joint Artifical Intelligence Office”.