Google says it will not renew controversial Pentagon contract
- Author: Eleanor Harrison Jun 03, 2018,
Jun 03, 2018, 21:13
According to a report by Gizmodo, Google has decided not to renew its controversial contract for Project Maven with the Department of Defense. Yet another report from Gizmodo on the subject says that Google won't be renewing the project once its current contract runs out. And while Gizmodo reported last week that IBM has been approached by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to potentially work on the project, a spokesperson for IBM tells Fast Company that "IBM does not have and has not had a contract to work on Project Maven".
This use case is well suited for AI given how humans can not analyze all the available drone footage, with Google noting that the system sifts through "unclassified data" for later review by humans and that it's being leveraged for "non-offensive uses only".
Although tech companies often chase contracts in the United States defense sector, Google's involvement in. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
But for employees who saw themselves working for a more moral tech giant (which recently abandoned its unofficial "don't be evil" motto), there probably won't be much good news.
We've reached out to Google and The Pentagon for more information.
"As military commanders come to see the object recognition algorithms as reliable, it will be tempting to attenuate or even remove human review and oversight for these systems", ICRAC said in an open letter. A petition demanding that Google stop cooperating with the military and condemn the creation of AI weapons was signed by thousands of Google employees.
"I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen". According to an email written by Aileen Black, an executive director overseeing Google's business with the USA government, Project Maven sponsored Google's application for higher levels of FedRAMP authorization, Security Requirements Guide 4 and 5. "We value all of our relationships with academic institutions and commercial companies involved with Project Maven".
Funding for Project Maven, which is also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team, grew to US$131 million (NZ$188 million) in the federal budget signed in March by US President Donald Trump.
An internal email sent in October 2017 entitled "MAVEN Kickoff Meeting Notes" quoted Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as saying during a meeting with Google in Mountain View, California, that he wanted "a built-in AI capability" in all future Department of Defense systems deployed in the field.