In 2018, Google signed a contract for Project Maven, a partnership with the US Department of Defence that seeks to improve the analysis of drone footage using artificial intelligence (AI). The first assignment for Project Maven, also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT), is to analyze the intimidating and ever-growing pile of drone footage – a collection so great that no human would be able to sift through it all.

If the project is successful, theoretically, it could pave the way for automated target recognition and autonomous weapon systems that require very little human supervision. But while the company’s board members are excited about the new partnership, many Google employees are not.

For months, over 4,000 Google employees have passionately protested the new contract, and now, about a dozen workers have announced their resignation at the leading tech company. An internal petition at Google argues that the company “should not be in the business of war.”

Diane Greene, a Google board of directors member, has assured employees that the technology will not “operate or fly drones” or even launch weapons. Still, many employees are not so sure that changes anything.

“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,” the petition reads. The protestors believe the new contract undermines Google’s corporate code of conduct: “Don’t Be Evil.” Read more from…

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