Both Google and the US Pentagon have insisted that Project Maven would not be capable of initiating weapons use without human input. At the time, the reaction to the news proved divisive, with some employees at Google apparently "outraged" at the project.
More than 3,000 Google employees have signed a letter demanding that the company withdraw from a Pentagon-led AI project.
While Google spokespeople have said that the company's involvement is "non-offensive" and that the technology "will not be used to launch weapons", employees are still concerned that once built, the Pentagon would be able to use this tech for whatever objective it chooses. In fact, their hundreds of researchers regularly publish research papers that help update internal products and the AI research community.
"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.More news: Into the future: What's ahead for EPA Admin. Scott Pruitt?
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The company has been slow-moving on most things AI, from barring employees from publishing AI research up until December 2016 to joining in late to an ethical AI research consortium co-founded by Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and IBM.
Google uses a ton of aggregated data to make search smarter, Apple is all about privacy and it will be interesting to see how they handle this with a smaller data set (i.e. only one person's data). A Defense Department memo has described the effort as created to accelerate the use of AI in analyzing full motion video captured by drones.
"We can not outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties", the letter says. By engaging in Project Maven, Google will join the ranks of US defense contractors such as Raytheon, General Dynamics and Palantir and be in direct opposition to its core values, the letter said. Never jeopardize that. Ever.
Project Maven is a DoD initiative to improve the US military's adoption of machine learning, namely computer vision. "Building this technology to assist the US Government in military surveillance - and potentially lethal outcomes - is not acceptable, the letter said".
Greene also guaranteed that the models used by the AI are based on unclassified data only and that Google has no offensive purposes when it comes to its participation with AI recognition software.