Following Worker Revolt, Google to End Drone Technology Contract with Pentagon

A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, carrying a Hellfire missile flies over an air base after flying a mission in the Persian Gulf region

Google's Fei-Fei Li warned about Maven AI deal, reports New York Times

The Google workers also noted the company's well-known former motto, "Don't be evil", warning that Project Maven "will irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent".

Google insists that the technology it is developing for the U.S. military will be for "non-offensive uses only".

"They may want to act like they're not in the business of war, but the business of war long ago came to them", said Mr. Singer, author of a book examining such issues called "LikeWar", scheduled for publication in the fall.

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"We're gratified to see Google take the decision not to renew its contract for Project Maven and to make the decision public", wrote Lucy Suchman, Lilly Irani, and Peter Asaro. The tech giant's full set of principles on the matter are thought to be announced in the coming weeks, according to a report from The New York Times. The company, however, remained cautious of this contract becoming public anxious about how people would perceive it. Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM are other tech giants competing for similar contracts. We will update this post if we receive responses from either party.

Google did not immediately respond to the online magazine's request for comment, Gizmodo said.

Some Google employees, whose skills are in high demand, had organised resistance campaigns or threatened to leave. AI researchers and executives at London-based Google subsidiary DeepMind, meanwhile, have distanced themselves from the program, citing a 2014 acquisition agreement between the companies that preclude Google from using DeepMind technology in surveillance and military systems.

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"Google will not seek another contract for its controversial work providing artificial intelligence to the US Department of Defense for analyzing drone footage after its current contract expires", Gizmodo reports. Project Maven focuses on computer vision, and specifically has an "immediate focus" on recognizing 38 classes of objects.

The Pentagon has said AI is a top priority and it is moving aggressively to develop a "Joint Artificial Intelligence Office" that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in April would involve AI production and prototyping.

The "momentum for AI and autonomy is picking up inside the DoD", Work said. In the bidding process, companies were asked to help devise a machine learning technology that could help drone analysts interpret the vast image data vacuumed up from the military's fleet of 1,100 drones to better target bombing strikes against the Islamic State. Its budget also had the possibility of growing to as much as $250 million.

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