It looks like there are many Google employees who are not happy with the company right now. In fact, thousands of Google employees have signed a petition calling on CEO Sundar Pichai to exit a partnership on artificial intelligence with the U.S. Department of Defense. Google’s involvement with Project Maven was first reported last month. The company is reportedly helping the Pentagon use artificial intelligence to analyze drone footage. Despite Google’s assurances that its involvement is limited to non-combat users, Google employees don’t like it and want the company to step back.
Apparently, over 3,100 Google employees have signed a petition that suggests the possibility that the military could repurpose Google’s technology for combat use once it’s delivered. That’s not unheard of. Google says that the Pentagon will use “open-source object recognition software available to any Google Cloud customer” based on unclassified data. The technology would be used to flag images captured by drones for human review.
They have some valid concerns. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” reads the very first line of the petition, calling on CEO Sundar Pichai to cancel Project Maven. It also wants the company to “draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.