A large number of Google employees have protested in a letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai against the development of Google software, in which machine learning is used to interpret video images, which are then used for military purposes.
3100 concerned employees have signed the letter which was published by The New York Times. They are afraid that the technology is used, for example, for the more targeted execution of drone attacks. The Google employees believe that Google should not engage in warfare and ask Pichai to cancel the so-called Project Maven.
Project Maven is typified by the signatories as a ‘customized ai surveillance engine’ that uses ‘wide area motion imagery’ from American government drones used to detect and track vehicles and other objects. The results will end up at the US Department of Defense. As one of the parties involved in this project, Google is working on a part of the technology.
Google top woman Diana Greene said earlier that the technology is not used directly to fly drones or fire guns, but that this would be used to mark video material, which can then be analyzed by people. According to the concerned Google employees, the technology is delivered to the army and can still be used directly for military tasks.
The group also wants Google to apply a policy so that ‘war technology is never built’. It is felt that this project damages Google’s reputation, with the letter referring to the growing concerns about autonomous weapon systems where ai plays a crucial role. According to the signatories, Google is comparing this project with arms manufacturers such as Raytheon and General Dynamics.