Google Employees Resign In Protest Of Pentagon AI Project

in news •  6 months ago

Mountain View, CA — At least a dozen Google employees have resigned in protest over the company collaborating with the Department of Defense by supplying artificial intelligence for a controversial military pilot program for the DoD known as Project Maven, after thousands of employees signed a letter last month asking the company to cancel the Pentagon contract and institute a policy against working for the military.

(TiM) | Written by: Jay Syrmopoulos | Image by: NPR

‘We can no longer ignore our industry’s and our technologies’ harmful biases, large-scale breaches of trust, and lack of ethical safeguards. These are life and death stakes,” the petition read.

[Related: US Army Developing Drones With AI Targeting]

Project Maven, developed to scan images in drone footage and identify targets and classify images of objects and people— was launched in April 2017, and according to a Pentagon memo, aims to “augment or automate Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in support of the Defeat-ISIS campaign” in order to “reduce the human factors burden of [full motion video] analysis, increase actionable intelligence, and enhance military decision-making.”

More than 1,000 academics and researchers penned an open letter in support of the Google employees and calling on the company to cease work on Project Maven. The letter touches on the implications of Google working with the Pentagon:

With Project Maven, Google becomes implicated in the questionable practice of targeted killings. These include so-called signature strikes and pattern-of-life strikes that target people based not on known activities but on probabilities drawn from long range surveillance footage.

While the reports on Project Maven currently emphasize the role of human analysts, these technologies are poised to become a basis for automated target recognition and autonomous weapon systems. 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. According to Defense One, the DoD already plans to install image analysis technologies on-board the drones themselves, including armed drones. We are then just a short step away from authorizing autonomous drones to kill automatically, without human supervision or meaningful human control. If ethical action on the part of tech companies requires consideration of who might benefit from a technology and who might be harmed, then we can say with certainty that no topic deserves more sober reflection – no technology has higher stakes – than algorithms meant to target and kill at a distance and without public accountability.

The DoD contracts under consideration by Google, and similar contracts already in place at Microsoft and Amazon, signal a dangerous alliance between the private tech industry, currently in possession of vast quantities of sensitive personal data collected from people across the globe, and one country’s military. They also signal a failure to engage with global civil society and diplomatic institutions that have already highlighted the ethical stakes of these technologies.

A few of the Google employees that chose to resign in protest spoke to Gizmodo anonymously about the reasoning behind their decision.

“At some point, I realized I could not in good faith recommend anyone join Google, knowing what I knew. I realized if I can’t recommend people join here, then why am I still here?” one resigning Google employee told Gizmodo.

“I tried to remind myself right that Google’s decisions are not my decisions. I’m not personally responsible for everything they do. But I do feel responsibility when I see something that I should escalate it,” another said.

“Actions speak louder than words, and that’s a standard I hold myself to as well. I wasn’t happy just voicing my concerns internally. The strongest possible statement I could take against this was to leave,” a resigning employee added.

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glad to see that there are still people with a conscience


And we need them now more than ever.

There's one area where AI development truly terrifies me: The Military.


Yeah, it's how dystopia novels and films start


Yeah it's pretty terrifying, and astounding that you can find people who would do it, but I guess you'll never stop finding people who are either naive enough that they think it won't turn into a dystopic nightmare, or they're greedy enough that they won't care as long as they're paid enough.


Being concerned about AI for war applications is as ridiculous as being concern about nuclear bombs in the hands of a military petrodollar injected superpower....oh wait!


Well at least our planet won't be irradiated. It'll just be converted to computronium for our AI overlords.

Project Maven . . . aims to “augment or automate Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in support of the Defeat-ISIS campaign”

It's a huge red flag anytime the US gov't states that it's developing a project to fight terrorism. The US gov't formed and supported ISIS to serve as its proxy force in its campaign to control the energy-rich Middle East region. US air force and special forces assets have been providing air and tactical support to ISIS in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.

So from the US point-of-view, ISIS are the good guys and the gov't forces of the targeted country are the 'terrorists.' In other words, the 'terrorists' are anyone who opposes the globalist hegemonic agenda.

Imagine the twilight zone is actually reality.


For some bizarre reason, someone somewhere agreed that working cooperatively to kill is super (if not mega) profitable whilst working cooperatively to build ethical business have written all over them non-for profit.

By creating the problem, finding the solution to the problem and lastly fixing the problem, these people have created the perfect blueprint for constant economic growth.

Enable the army to play with new cool toys is a great way to secure govermnet and banks future assets.

Is Google's motto still "Don't Be Evil?"


This is exactly what I thought of. So much for that motto. Guess it was only a matter of time.

It's disappointing to think Google employees thought their company was legitimate. Fortunately there are plenty of job openings in many of the projects in the crypto space.

We need a shareholder initiative to convert alphabet and all subsidiaries into Public Benefit Corporations aka B-corps so that they can make ethical choices that are not profitable without being sued by shareholders for not maximizing profit.

Until then, they are required by law to do what is most profitable not what heels them "Not be Evil".

Posted using Partiko Android

Para ver que en este mundo ay gente q le impirta mas el dinero todavia ay gente q tiene consiencia

This makes me smile, that good people still are out there! And make a stand for what they know is right!

First: Good on these employees for identifying a situation which did not sync with their moral code and having the fortitude to take action.

Second: These Google employees, and I would assume the vast majority, are absolutely, staggeringly ignorant as to the true nature, history, and extent of the relationship between The Military Industrial Complex in the US, The World Revolutionary Movement (WRM), and the Silicon Valley Tech Industry / Companies...Staggeringly Ignorant is a gentle description of their condition.

Third: Its not so much the Silicon Valley Tech Industry being "in bed" so to speak, with the Military Industrial Complex here in the US which keeps me up at night. In truth, the actual situation is far worse. The Silicon Valley Tech companies have extensive ties and relationships with Foreign (Current and Former) Intelligence Operations, whose goals may or may not fully align with the U.S. National Interests.

I find this fact concerning.

See below Screen Capture for JUST ONE path down the Rabbit Hole - NOT the only path by any stretch.Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 5.03.53 PM.png