During the previous month, it was revealed that the giant company Google is providing its resources to the US Department of Defense for Project Maven. The Project Maven is a research initiative for making computer vision algorithms that will analyze drone footage. But what Google thought as a new development in its business turned out to be a matter of protest by its own employees.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#b4daf3″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Thousands of employees, including numerous senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting against the new business of war initiative by Google. In their letter, they have demanded that the company should stop its involvement in the Pentagon program which involves the use of AI for interpreting video imagery and which could be used for enhancing the targeting feature of drones.[/dropshadowbox]
The letter was circulated in Google and it was able to get 3,100 signatures from the employees. This letter shows a serious culture clash between the Silicon Valley and the government at a time when the federal government is looking to amplify its cutting-edge weapons with the help of advanced technologies.
You should know that the work on Project Maven began in the last April. Although the details of what Google is offering to the federal government was not clear a spokesperson of the Google confirmed that the company was giving DOD access to its open source TensorFlow software which is used in machine learning applications.
Google has made it clear that the services provided by them in the Project Maven will not be offensive and it will also not help in firing weapons or for operating drones. But this safe side statement is not proving to be reasonable enough for the 3,100 employees who signed the letter to the CEO of the company, Sundar Picahi.
Some contents of the letter are as follows “While this eliminates a narrow set of direct applications, the technology is being built for the military, and once it’s delivered it could easily be used to assist in these tasks”
According to the letter, the employees are asking Google to stop its involvement in such war-related business and to implement a policy which will make clear that the company is not going to be involved in war manufacturing technologies. In the letter, it has also been said that such act will put a danger to the reputation of the company and it also stands in direct opposition to their core values.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#b4daf3″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]In response to the letter, a Google spokesperson said to The New York Times that “any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns … We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic”. He further added, “The technology is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work”[/dropshadowbox]
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”raised” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#cbdbe1″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ] Also Read: Google Has Now Changed It’s Messaging Strategy[/dropshadowbox]