Published: Sun, June 03, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Google employees raise concerns over its contract with US Defense Dept


Given Google cofounder Sergey Brin's desire to see militaries work with worldwide companies instead of smaller contractors, we may someday live in a world where Google coordinates warfare just as well as Google Maps does traffic. News of the company's involvement with the Pentagon sparked a heated outcry from advocates, academics, the general public, and even many of Google's own employees, some of whom later quit as a form of protest. Greene said Google chose to work on Project Maven "at a time when Google was more aggressively pursuing military work", Gizmodo reported.

Now, it appears that the blowback pressured Google into backing away from Maven: the contract expires next year and won't be renewed, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene told employees in a meeting Friday morning, according to Gizmodo.

Project Maven has been a source of tension within Google.

Google earlier responded to the employees petition saying that the technology was meant to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.

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Plunkett added: "We sincerely hope that we will be able to again offer our services in the search for MH370 in future". Ocean Infinity's next job is with a resources company believed to be Woodside Energy.


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.

If you want to take a look at a DoD presentation regarding Project Maven, you can take look at a 27-page document that was obtained by Lauren Weinstein, a technology activist. The internet itself evolved from Arpanet, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and major tech companies like IBM and Microsoft have provided software to the military for decades. But when news broke, Google began working to calm the nerves of employees and outside critics.

Google is breaking up with the Pentagon. Development on Maven necessitated higher security authorizations for Google's cloud infrastructure, which, once granted, opened the door to billions of dollars worth of Pentagon contracts.

"Maven is a large government program that will result in improved safety for citizens and nations through faster identification of evils such as violent extremist activities and human right [sic] abuses", Scott Frohman, defense and intelligence sales lead at Google, wrote in an email in September 2017. Another internal email from Aileen Black and published by the Intercept, however, shows the project was expected to grow rapidly, and "as the program grows expect spend is budgeted at 250 M per year". A petition demanding that Google stop cooperating with the military and condemn the creation of AI weapons was signed by thousands of Google employees.

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