Google employees revolt, say company should shut down military drone project

A formal letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai and signed by more than 3100 workers has called for involvement with Maven to be canceled.

"I am happy to see that the employees of Google are expressing their opinion".

Google's total purchase of energy, including from sources such as wind and solar, exceeded the amount of electricity used by the company's worldwide operations around the world.

The existence of the system was revealed in early March this year, with Google grudgingly confirming that the DoD system was indeed using its TensorFlow technology.

Today, more than 3,000 Google employees fear their company is on the verge of breaching that code by helping the US military improve its spy drone software.

Google's AI technology is being used by the DoD to analyze drone footage.

The letter notes that while Google has promised its work will not be used to operate drones or launch weapons, the technology in question could be used for other military purposes.

Google reiterated that the technology is not used for offensive purposes, stating that it "is meant to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work".

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"This plan will irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent", the letter said.

The petition, originally published in the New York Times, also rejects the argument that Google's involvement isn't problematic because the likes of Microsoft and Amazon are also partners in the project, stating that Google's unique history and influence set it apart.

Google employees implore CEO Sundar Pichai to withdraw the company from U.S. drone project.

The letter to Pichai had been reportedly going around Google's internal communication server for several weeks where it collected around 3,100 signatures.

However, the employee letter argues that this technology can be extended to assist in those tasks.

"Building this technology to assist the US Government in military surveillance - and potentially lethal outcomes - is not acceptable", the letter reads.

"There's a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly, if you will". By engaging in Project Maven, Google will join the ranks of USA defense contractors such as Raytheon, General Dynamics and Palantir and be in direct opposition to its core values, the letter said.

Staff is concerned about Google using users' data for the recognition of individuals, and the free usage that the Pentagon can give to the machine learning models that the company develops.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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