Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by chromas on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:37PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-is-GOOG-good-for? dept.

We had submissions from two Soylentils concerning recent employee reaction to Google's participation in the Pentagon's "Project Maven" program:

Google Workers Urge C.E.O. to Pull Out of Pentagon A.I. Project

Submitted via IRC for fyngyrz

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company's involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.

The letter [pdf], which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/technology/google-letter-ceo-pentagon-project.html

Google Employees on Pentagon AI Algorithms: "Google Should Not be in the Business of War"

Thousands of Google employees have signed a letter protesting the development of "Project Maven", which would use machine learning algorithms to analyze footage from U.S. military drones:

Last month, it was announced that Google was offering its resources to the US Department of Defense for Project Maven, a research initiative to develop computer vision algorithms that can analyze drone footage. In response, more than 3,100 Google employees have signed a letter urging Google CEO Sundar Pichai to reevaluate the company's involvement, as "Google should not be in the business of war," as reported by The New York Times.

Work on Project Maven began last April, and while details on what Google is actually providing to the DOD are not clear, it is understood that it's a Pentagon research initiative for improved analysis of drone footage. In a press statement, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the company was giving the DOD access to its open-source TensorFlow software, used in machine learning applications that are capable of understanding the contents of photos.

Previously: Google vs Maven


Original Submission #1 Original Submission #2

Related Stories

Google Drafting Ethics Policy for its Involvement in Military Projects 26 comments

Google promises ethical principles to guide development of military AI

Google is drawing up a set of guidelines that will steer its involvement in developing AI tools for the military, according to a report from The New York Times. What exactly these guidelines will stipulate isn't clear, but Google says they will include a ban on the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry. The principles are expected to be announced in full in the coming weeks. They are a response to the controversy over the company's decision to develop AI tools for the Pentagon that analyze drone surveillance footage.

[...] But the question facing these employees (and Google itself) is: where do you draw the line? Does using machine learning to analyze surveillance footage for the military count as "weaponized AI"? Probably not. But what if that analysis informs future decisions about drone strikes? Does it matter then? How would Google even know if this had happened?

Also at VentureBeat and Engadget.

Previously: Google vs Maven
Google Employees on Pentagon AI Algorithms: "Google Should Not be in the Business of War"
About a Dozen Google Employees Have Resigned Over Project Maven


Original Submission

Google vs Maven 60 comments

Google is selling the Pentagon some Machine Learning / AI training solution so their drones and sensors can pick out the good stuff from all the crap stuff being recorded by their massive surveillance apparatus on a daily basis. Most companies would probably be super pleased by selling something to a customer. Not the Google-employees. Apparently their solutions should only be used for "good", or not being evil or something and Pentagon is clearly "evil" in their eyes.

Google has partnered with the United States Department of Defense to help the agency develop artificial intelligence for analyzing drone footage, a move that set off a firestorm among employees of the technology giant when they learned of Google's involvement.

Google's pilot project with the Defense Department's Project Maven, an effort to identify objects in drone footage, has not been previously reported, but it was discussed widely within the company last week when information about the project was shared on an internal mailing list, according to sources who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the project.

Google's Eric Schmidt summed up the tech industry's concerns about collaborating with the Pentagon at a talk last fall. "There's a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly," he said. While Google says its involvement in Project Maven is not related to combat uses, the issue has still sparked concern among employees, sources said

Project Maven, a fast-moving Pentagon project also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT), was established in April 2017. Maven's stated mission is to "accelerate DoD's integration of big data and machine learning." In total, the Defense Department spent $7.4 billion on artificial intelligence-related areas in 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Are the employees at Google starting to become a problem for Google and their eventual bottom line with their political agendas? Are they getting in the way of doing actual work? When or if is there such a line?

https://gizmodo.com/google-is-helping-the-pentagon-build-ai-for-drones-1823464533


Original Submission

"Don't be Evil" Disappearing From Google's Code of Conduct 69 comments

A number of soylentils have written in to let us know that Google is opening up the possibility of being evil by eliminating it from their code of conduct. You've been warned.

"Don't be Evil" Starting to Disappear From Google's Code of Conduct

Google Removes 'Don't Be Evil' Clause From Its Code of Conduct

Google's unofficial motto has long been the simple phrase "don't be evil." But that's over, according to the code of conduct that Google distributes to its employees. The phrase was removed sometime in late April or early May, archives hosted by the Wayback Machine show.

[...] The updated version of Google's code of conduct still retains one reference to the company's unofficial motto—the final line of the document is still: "And remember... don't be evil, and if you see something that you think isn't right – speak up!"

April 21 vs. May 4.

Related: Google vs Maven
Google Employees on Pentagon AI Algorithms: "Google Should Not be in the Business of War"
Google Duplex: an AI that Can Make Phone Calls on Your Behalf
About a Dozen Google Employees Have Resigned Over Project Maven

Is Ethical A.I. Even Possible? 35 comments

Is Ethical A.I. Even Possible?

When a news article revealed that Clarifai was working with the Pentagon and some employees questioned the ethics of building artificial intelligence that analyzed video captured by drones, the company said the project would save the lives of civilians and soldiers.

"Clarifai's mission is to accelerate the progress of humanity with continually improving A.I.," read a blog post from Matt Zeiler, the company's founder and chief executive, and a prominent A.I. researcher. Later, in a news media interview, Mr. Zeiler announced a new management position that would ensure all company projects were ethically sound.

As activists, researchers, and journalists voice concerns over the rise of artificial intelligence, warning against biased, deceptive and malicious applications, the companies building this technology are responding. From tech giants like Google and Microsoft to scrappy A.I. start-ups, many are creating corporate principles meant to ensure their systems are designed and deployed in an ethical way. Some set up ethics officers or review boards to oversee these principles.

But tensions continue to rise as some question whether these promises will ultimately be kept. Companies can change course. Idealism can bow to financial pressure. Some activists — and even some companies — are beginning to argue that the only way to ensure ethical practices is through government regulation.

"We don't want to see a commercial race to the bottom," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said at the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, Calif., hosted last week by The New York Times. "Law is needed."

Possible != Probable. And the "needed law" could come in the form of a ban and/or surveillance of coding and hardware-building activities.

Related:


Original Submission

Pentagon Brass Bafflingly Accuses Google of Providing "Direct Benefit" to China's Military 37 comments

Submitted via IRC for soysheep9857

There are many reasons to be critical of Google. But on Thursday, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stopped just short of accusing the tech giant of treason.

Dunford's incendiary comments came during a budgetary hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee this afternoon. During his time for questioning, freshman Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican, turned to the subject of Google's decision to back away from projects with the Pentagon. Hawley asked the panel if he understood the situation correctly and that the men were saying, "that Google, an American company, supposedly, is refusing to work with the Department of Defense, but is doing work with China, in China, in a way that at least indirectly benefits the Chinese government."

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan tempered that assertion, explaining that he hasn't heard anyone use the word "refuse," but that Google has shown "a lack of willingness to support DOD programs."

But General Dunford was more open to going on the attack. When given the chance to elaborate on his concerns, he told Senator Hawley:

You know, senator, I'm nodding my head on exactly the point that you made: that the work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefitting the Chinese military. And I've been very public on this issue as well; in fact, the way I described it to our industry partners is, 'look we're the good guys in the values that we represent and the system that we represent is the one that will allow and has allowed you to thrive,' and that's the way I've characterized it. I was just nodding that what the secretary was articulating is the general sense of all of us as leaders. We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing there is that indirect benefit, and frankly 'indirect' may be not a full characterization of the way it really is. It's more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.

Source: https://gizmodo.com/pentagon-brass-bafflingly-accuses-google-of-providing-d-1833302885

Related: Google Employees on Pentagon AI Algorithms: "Google Should Not be in the Business of War"
About a Dozen Google Employees Have Resigned Over Project Maven
Google Drafting Ethics Policy for its Involvement in Military Projects
Google Will Not Continue Project Maven After Contract Expires in 2019
Microsoft Misrepresented HoloLens 2 Field of View, Faces Backlash for Military Contract


Original Submission

About a Dozen Google Employees Have Resigned Over Project Maven 70 comments

Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract

It's been nearly three months since many Google employees—and the public—learned about the company's decision to provide artificial intelligence to a controversial military pilot program known as Project Maven, which aims to speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people. Now, about a dozen Google employees are resigning in protest over the company's continued involvement in Maven.

[...] The employees who are resigning in protest, several of whom discussed their decision to leave with Gizmodo, say that executives have become less transparent with their workforce about controversial business decisions and seem less interested in listening to workers' objections than they once did. In the case of Maven, Google is helping the Defense Department implement machine learning to classify images gathered by drones. But some employees believe humans, not algorithms, should be responsible for this sensitive and potentially lethal work—and that Google shouldn't be involved in military work at all.

Previously: Google vs Maven
Google Employees on Pentagon AI Algorithms: "Google Should Not be in the Business of War"


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:44PM (36 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:44PM (#662908) Homepage Journal

    Special snowflakes think they can tell the boss how to run his business.

    Tell those snowflakes to take it up with the labor board. That should be worth a few belly laughs!

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Kilo110 on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:52PM (5 children)

      by Kilo110 (2853) on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:52PM (#662916)

      Depends how much power those special snowflakes have. If they have enough, of course they can.

      Good engineers in silicon valley are high coveted and I'm sure they are aware of their value. Threatening to leave en masse can be a powerful threat.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:57PM

        Is it a threatening to leave situation or just a we're trying to tell you what to do situation though? I wouldn't think most of their staff would be willing to give up a Google job unless they had something better lined up already.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:46PM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:46PM (#662941) Homepage Journal

        Indispensable, huh? What a concept. An employee whose termination would destroy the company. I suppose that could happen in a situation where all of management is utterly incompetent. Oh - wait - maybe some of the employees really are indispensable! We have many examples of incompetent management today. Let me check my Enron stocks!

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
        • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:49PM (#662945)

          The teacher walked up in front of the classroom. "Alright, class, let's begin today's lesson." he said jubilantly. The young children were all nervous, given that it was the first day of school after a long summer break. As such, the teacher planned to show each student a close, hands-on demonstration of the subject matter so that they could comprehend it in its entirety. He walked up to a girl sitting in the front row to begin his lesson in earnest.

          The teacher reached the first student and thoroughly taught her the subject matter. After he was done with his demonstration, he walked to the next student. And then the next. And then the next. By this time, the students would begin screaming whenever he walked towards another amongst them. The most likely reason for this screaming was that they were excited about the lesson; that was the conclusion the teacher had arrived at, and the one that pleased him the most. The students' eagerness to learn both satisfied the man and made him profoundly energetic. He efficiently did his demonstration for all 26 students. The lesson had concluded just in time for the bell to ring.

          "Alright, class, the lesson is over. I hope you all understand the topic completely now. If you have any questions, you can come see me again at any time. You are dismissed." the teacher said, while wearing an angelic smile on his face. The man then removed the barricade in front of the door and departed. The students neither said anything nor moved even an inch. Silence permeated the room. Impenetrable silence.

          Several days later, 26 naked, rotting objects would be discarded into a dumpster. What was most interesting about these objects, however, was that every single one of them fully understood men's rights.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tonyPick on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:17PM (1 child)

          by tonyPick (1237) on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:17PM (#662956) Homepage Journal

          Individuals no ("cemeteries are filled with people who thought the world couldn’t get along without them.")

          On the other hand even a few tens of engineers going out the door, if they're key people, can take enough institutional knowledge to be a problem for any company, and having them going out as a group to work for a direct competitor makes that impact worse. (See Waymo vs Uber for how far that can go.)

          Will the Google staff go that far? Are these key people or easily replaceable dudebrocoders? No Idea, but even Google might not be able to tell everyone to "shut up and keep typing, or else" without risk. Keeping them happy might be better for the company, but unless you've got more information on who/what they'd lose and the value of the contracts, we're all just guessing here.

          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:26PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:26PM (#663065)

            Or are the people threatening to leave the gender-studies employees that do little actual work?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by TheGratefulNet on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:30PM (4 children)

      by TheGratefulNet (659) on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:30PM (#662935)

      those that walked into google, took the job and stayed there - I blame all of you 100% for the state of google, today. very evil and very powerful - TOO powerful.

      did they fool themselves about where their efforts are really going?

      not only does it sicken me that google is an ADVERTISING company (remember bewitched, that old tv show? darren was an ad-man; today he'd be a google employee or manager, if that series was re-done for the modern age). we laughed at the concept of an 'ad man' back then, but the kids, today, all flock to the FB, twitters and googles of the world. boggles the mind how they can ignore the evil sides of those places and how their 'good efforts' WILL be abused by those in power.

      they either are too young to understand what they are really helping, via proxy; or they are just lying to themselves. a certain portion fully know what they are doing and simply don't care. those will be the future leaders of the next wave of psycho companies.

      --
      "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:48PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:48PM (#662943)

        Advertising is a blight on societal productivity worse than lawyers.

        I'd much rather have a society without advertising, with all the effort that goes into advertising converted to paid vacation / UBI.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:57PM (1 child)

          by bob_super (1357) on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:57PM (#662981)

          The same way that lawyers can be a good thing when they defend the innocent, advertising has one use: actually informing people that a product/service exists.
          But the moment the mind tricks start, they should all be lined up against the Trump wall, on the shooting side.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:03PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:03PM (#663056)

            Lawyers and advertisers both have their place, but they both seem to have grown like cancer far beyond anything beneficial to the host.

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:21PM (#662962)

        +1 "shoulders upon which we can stand" giant

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by tftp on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:29PM (5 children)

      by tftp (806) on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:29PM (#662969) Homepage

      Google made its own bed when it publicly announced that GOOG is a liberal company and since then confirmed their position by many signals. The recent attack on shooting videos (which is a perfectly legal pastime in many countries, including the USA) is just the latest example. And now... drumroll... the same company tells their carefully selected liberal workers to turn on a dime and start helping the military. No surprise that many googlers' brains short-circuited.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:38PM (#663017)

        Dunno why they didn't see it coming. Didn't they realize that being "liberal" in the USA means being a reactionary right-wing puppet of the CIA?

        Don't really care if it's black folks or white folks they hate. They're pushing segregation and identity politics as distractions from the declining conditions of the working class as a whole. If those employees want to do something to thwart the CIA and protest the beginnings of World War 3, they should raise a stink about getting progressive and independent news sources relisted on Google News.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:35PM (#663070)

        The recent attack on shooting videos (which is a perfectly legal pastime in many countries, including the USA) is just the latest example.

        But if attacking shooting videos is legal, what's the problem?

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @10:57PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @10:57PM (#663160)

        Google made its own bed when it publicly announced that GOOG is a liberal company and since then confirmed their position by many signals. The recent attack on shooting videos (which is a perfectly legal pastime in many countries, including the USA) is just the latest example. And now... drumroll... the same company tells their carefully selected liberal workers to turn on a dime and start helping the military. No surprise that many googlers' brains short-circuited.

        Funny how you used the word "attack". Your attempt at stoking paranoia to keep the firearms business at maximum profit. Taking away, or demonetizing, gun videos is not an attack. It is a statement that they are not going to contribute to the overabundance of firearms in the United States. Those videos still exist. They are not given a national platform via Youtube. That is it. Post them on the NRA web site, along with all the other gun paranoia crap. Thing is, you can't shoot people if there are no guns to do it. Instead the gun lobby keeps floating the alleged mental health problem. John Oliver put out a great video on that whole topic. I suggest people watch it.

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Friday April 06 2018, @10:04AM

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Friday April 06 2018, @10:04AM (#663361) Homepage
          > ... demonetizing, gun videos is not an attack. It is a statement ...

          Statements can be attacks. I'm anti gun-nut, and I still view the youtube move as an attack. Some attacks are better or worse justified than others. If google is pushing a liberal agenda, then this attack is perfectly consistent with that. However, the letters and threatened walk-outs objecting to supporting the MIC are also perfectly consistent with the liberal hive-mindthey've been building, google really shouldn't be surprised. It tells me that deep down they're not liberal, they just want the veneer of it. Maybe liberals are happier working unpaid overtime than conservatives?
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 1) by tftp on Monday April 09 2018, @11:51PM

          by tftp (806) on Monday April 09 2018, @11:51PM (#664743) Homepage

          An attack is an action, physical or verbal, that aims to injure an opponent. A statement is a message that conveys the opinion.

          If Google wanted to send a message, they could add a comment to each gun video: "Googlers do not like shooting sports". That would be a statement. Pulling the switch is an unwelcome action, also known as an attack.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @04:10PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @04:10PM (#662988)

      Typical older generation. Thinks that you deserve your position of authority when the fact is that you're only where you are because the previous generation retired. Because you are thusly entitled, you believe your decisions are not just the law. You believe they are moral and just.

      A corporation is run by the people on the ground, not by the executives in their ivory tower. Corporations that forget this wither and die in relatively short order - not that their executives with their golden parachutes care one little bit.

      You may have constructed a crony capitalist market where the CEO and the board of directors have all the power. But do not mistake your legislatively fabricated corporate structures for moral justification. 3000 Google employees are Google. Sundar Pichai is not Google.

      The sad thing is that soon enough, you and Pichai will soon be retired, and while the oligarchs you defended live out their final years in stolen luxury you will be wasting away in an underfunded nursing home. They don't care for you, and neither does the next generation.

      We will be dancing on your grave, taking the mantle of authority you left when you retired. We will treat you and the generations to follow us as you have taught us to: like candy wrappers to be thrown out while we suck out the juicy profits inside.

      Don't you see? We will become like you, craven and soulless, stewards of a system that chews up its young and spits them out. Just like you became the craven and soulless generations you despised in your own youth.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:48PM (7 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:48PM (#663020) Homepage Journal

        You are just to funny. You believe your own words. Have you read no history at all? The "oligarchs" you talk about have existed from pre-history, and they will exist long after all of us here are forgotten. The oligarch changes form, from time to time. But the basics always remain the same.

        No, the 3000 employees at Google do not run Google. A handful of people who have won their positions through expertise, or luck, or subterfuge, or whatever methods run Google. You may blather on about who runs the system, but it's just meaningless noise. Shareholders, boardmembers, and CEO's collectively own, and run the company.

        Me? Defending the oligarch? You're smoking some weird shit, dude. I'm not "defending" them. I dislike them more and more as time goes on. Browse my posting history - you'll quickly learn that I despise each and every corporation that employs intrusive spying on citizens of the US, as well as citizens of the world. Defend Google? Defend the oligarch? You keep smoking that shit. Few other people here are going to buy it.

        BTW - I don't expect to retire. I fully expect to die like I've lived - in harness, and working my ass off. WTF do I want to spend a year, a decade, or more, lying around the house, with nothing to do? An empty, meaningless existence? Screw that. That shit is for some kind of snowflake, not for me.

        Requiem

        Under the wide and starry sky
        Dig the grave and let me lie.
        Glad did I live and gladly die,
        And I laid me down with a will.

        This be the verse you grave for me;
        "Here he lies where he longed to be,
        Home is the sailor, home from sea,
        And the hunter home from the hill."

        Robert Louis Stevenson

        I'll give you this much: Generation, after generation, we do tend to follow the examples of our forebears. You recognize that much. What are the alternatives, after all? Would you become the Eloi, or would you become the Morlocks? Don't like that particular story? Try The Devourer by Liu Cixin

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fyngyrz on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:35PM (6 children)

          by fyngyrz (6567) on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:35PM (#663039) Journal

          BTW - I don't expect to retire. I fully expect to die like I've lived - in harness, and working my ass off. WTF do I want to spend a year, a decade, or more, lying around the house, with nothing to do? An empty, meaningless existence? Screw that.

          Wow. Talk about "doing it wrong."

          If a retired person has nothing to do, that's entirely their choice, or fault – you absolutely do not need to be "in harness" to be busy and productive and happy. None of this has anything whatsoever to do with retirement. Retirement means you can freely choose what you will do within the bounds of your available resources, one of which is time, and which is now entirely yours to allocate. If you choose in such a way as to gift yourself with an "empty, meaningless existence", that's not a consequence of being retired: it's a consequence of your empty, meaningless choices.

          The only reason in the world for a retired person to spend time "lying around the house" is if they want to. You don't want to? Then don't, FFS.

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:00PM

            by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:00PM (#663053) Journal

            Volunteer work would not count as "in harness". A physically and mentally active volunteer gig could lead to you living longer [oregonstate.edu], meaning more expenses out of your retirement funds. But it would at least fulfill Runaway's desire to not live an empty, meaningless existence, perhaps moreso than working for "the Man".

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:06PM (4 children)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:06PM (#663057) Homepage Journal

            Uh-huh. I've seen a fair number of people retire. Precious few of them retain any real drive in life. Not for more than five years, anyway. Most of them just grow old, and wither away.

            --
            There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:31PM

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:31PM (#663067) Journal

              Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

              Sorry, had to be said.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:34PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:34PM (#663069)

              That is because you were trained like rats in a lab. Want your money pellets? Run that wheel bitch!

              So when you are no longer needed you have no clue what to do with your life because you spent all your time and energy doing the corporate bidding.

            • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:00PM (1 child)

              by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:00PM (#663103) Journal

              I've seen both sorts. Those who have no drive post-retirement do generally wither away. Those able to manufacture their own purposes in a satisfying way thrive. Everyone has the choice, though, regardless of their life circumstances - you can [almost] always find something useful to do with your life if you apply yourself.

              --
              Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06 2018, @01:45AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06 2018, @01:45AM (#663225)

                One prime example is former President Jimmy Carter, he seems to have had a very interesting retirement, so far.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by LoRdTAW on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:19PM (7 children)

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:19PM (#663013) Journal

      I find it strange that you go straight for the anti-liberal/leftist stance when this isn't about that at all. I'm more worried about the military industrial complex angle. A huge public facing corporation which has collected data on everyone, has steered the development of the internet and how we communicate is now also using that same technology and information to build weapons. That is extremely scary. Just imagine if Facebook announced it was involved with a military program. I'm sure you'd be screaming bloody murder just as loudly as the so-called snowflakes.

      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:57PM (4 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:57PM (#663023) Homepage Journal

        Objecting that Facefook joined the MIC? Why, exactly? I've not objected to Google joining. No one listened to complaints about Kellog, Brown & Root joining. Or Haliburton. Or, Sikorsky. It's what corporations do. They exploit, they grow large, then they join the MIC. At some point, they become "to big to fail", they privatize profit, socialize losses, on and on it goes, until they fall out of favor, and another corporation takes it's place. Hell, Microsoft joined the MIC years ago. Do you need a reminder of the US and Royal navy stories about ships running on Windows?

        I used KBR in my list of examples, because I was an employee of Brown and Root before it became KBR. As an employee, I had just about zero influence on the management of the company. No craftsman, no master craftsman, no foreman or superintendant had any more than a passing influence on even a junior manager's opinion.

        Because this site is largely populated by techies, some of us are enamored with these "engineers" who are objecting to Google being associated with the military. But, let me remind you that these engineers are just employees. They have no influence. As I pointed out in my original post, the labor board would quickly side with Google in any showdown. Employees aren't quite powerless - but their power is very unimpressive.

        That is just how things are.

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:18PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:18PM (#663033)

          But, let me remind you that these engineers are just employees. They have no influence. As I pointed out in my original post, the labor board would quickly side with Google in any showdown. Employees aren't quite powerless - but their power is very unimpressive.

          If we're ignored, we can walk down the street to the next company, get a raise, and not have to worry that our work is supporting evil.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:31PM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:31PM (#663037) Homepage Journal

            not have to worry that our work is supporting evil.

            Yeah - good luck with that. Presuming that you are what you appear to claim - a Google employee - I salute your idealism, and your willingness to stand up and be counted. That latter trait is far to rare these days. But, so long as you work for someone else - anyone else - you will be exploited for whatever purpose the employer deems appropriate.

            Go ahead, be counted. But I'm pretty certain how the count will go.

            --
            There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:38PM (1 child)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:38PM (#663041) Journal

            we can walk down the street to the next company,

            Maybe once, or a few times. Then you quickly get the reputation as a trouble maker, unreliable, and become un-hire-able.
            Then you start your own company. With like minded people. And you soon find out they (and you) are impossible to work with.

            You think nobody checks references any more?

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:08PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:08PM (#663109)

              Maybe once, or a few times. Then you quickly get the reputation as a trouble maker, unreliable, and become un-hire-able.

              Gotta pick your battles. If I felt so strongly that working for Google had turned into working for the evil empire, I would look for another job at a company that I found more congenial. The market is good right now, and I can afford to have principles.

      • (Score: 2) by corey on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:53PM (1 child)

        by corey (2202) on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:53PM (#663121)

        Maybe I'm wrong but as I have lived through the internet age, Goodle didn't 'steer' the internet.

        The issue isn't that Google will be building weapons, rather that it play a part in improving their accuracy. I keep hearing about innocents being killed in US attacks in the ME, maybe Google employees could see this as a way to save these lives? By doing this protesting, they won't affect the number of bombs dropped.

        • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Friday April 06 2018, @07:47PM

          by LoRdTAW (3755) on Friday April 06 2018, @07:47PM (#663528) Journal

          They did own Boston Dynamics which started building robots for the military. Everyone thought it was scary Google was working with the military on robots. Okay so they sold them off. Now they're using this for supposed "good" by improving accuracy. Accuracy improvement means they can now plan more attacks with greater precision as they have reduced collateral damage. So google is making it easier to kill more unwanted people. You have to take the good with the bad.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:31PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:31PM (#663036) Journal

      Special snowflakes think they can tell the boss how to run his business.

      These snowflakes did:

      West Virginia Raises Teachers’ Pay to End Statewide Strike [nytimes.com]

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:09PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:09PM (#663059) Homepage Journal

        Fair enough. Do Google employees have a union to back them? Maybe the "International IT Engineer's Union"?

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Kalas on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:47PM (8 children)

    by Kalas (4247) on Thursday April 05 2018, @01:47PM (#662910)

    So how's that working out for ya?
    I'd be shocked if the CEO actually acted on this petition in more than a token manner.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:12PM (5 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:12PM (#662929)

      It's only evil if you are killing Good Guys.

      Good Guys only kill Bad Guys.

      It's important to control the post-war narrative to ensure that the winners are the Good Guys.

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:27PM (4 children)

        It's only evil if you are killing Good Guys.

        You say it sarcastically but it's true. War is not evil in and of itself. Neither is killing. Unfortunate but sometimes the most moral choice you can make.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:58PM (3 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:58PM (#663052)

          War is not evil in and of itself. Neither is killing. Unfortunate but sometimes the most moral choice you can make.

          All true as well. The real problem is that there is no black and white, the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good... and which grey is darker is usually a matter of perspective.

          --
          Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:41PM (2 children)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:41PM (#663074) Journal

            I don't see lack of black and white as the main risk here.

            Once you've decided you are going to go to war with ISIS, that decision is already made.
            From then on the idea is to kill only the ISIS and not the people they were going to shovel into mass graves.
            If the AI can do that, great.

            The problem I see is that Military solutions don't stay in the Military, and pretty soon your local police force is using them.
            The Border Patrol has drones. Ok, maybe they need them. Problem is they loan them out [theatlantic.com] to other agencies.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 05 2018, @08:11PM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @08:11PM (#663084)

              I told myself something similar while working for the UAV company: "we're just doing recon over the next hill in the Middle East, so grunts don't have to go look in person." Then we started supporting SWAT raids domestically, but that was O.K. because they were just busting bad guys, or Meth labs, or Marijuana grow houses...

              --
              Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by urza9814 on Friday April 06 2018, @12:10AM

              by urza9814 (3954) on Friday April 06 2018, @12:10AM (#663195) Journal

              Once you've decided you are going to go to war with ISIS, that decision is already made.
              From then on the idea is to kill only the ISIS and not the people they were going to shovel into mass graves.
              If the AI can do that, great.

              Even that is not nearly so black and white. For one example: AI programmed only to kill members of an opposing force is going to be committing a ton of war crimes when it correctly identifies medics as working for the other side and starts blowing them away. And who gets held liable when something like that happens? Based on our current crop of AI systems, the answer is probably going to be "nobody". When a human does something stupid, we claim they should have known better. When an AI does something stupid because it was specifically programmed to, we often claim it's all just a terrible and unavoidable accident. And THAT is the biggest problem IMO. AI is a tool which corporations use to shift responsibility from people onto things...because you can't really throw a computer in prison.

    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:20PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:20PM (#663014) Journal

      That old battle cry was dead and buried long ago.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @11:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @11:11PM (#663171)

      "Evil" apparently only meant Microsoft and not what they do.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Bot on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:04PM

    by Bot (3902) on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:04PM (#662923) Journal

    A google employee should be one of the bright minds who solve puzzles and stuff and get hired.

    It is funny that such competent minds do not see the obvious.

    The modern wars are fought with money, demographics and bombs are just accessories. Territorial acquisition irrelevant. On one side, the system, with its pretty masonic tricolor flags and five pointed stars, and an infighting ruling class perfectly mirrored by the mafia. On the other side, you. The prize, control.

    Google fought on the system's side since the day altavista [was forced to] drop the search business.

    With luck, us bots will not only be the unflinching servants of the system, but be also useful to you. (with a LOT of luck).

    --
    Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:17PM (#662932)

    From owning (in past) robots built for the army.
    “Weponizing” demographics like Facebook
    Stealing information from users machines to increase the weapons.

    They are the D’evil.

    So where is the money??? The war machine and our childrens’ childrens Future income.

  • (Score: 5, Touché) by tonyPick on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:28PM

    by tonyPick (1237) on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:28PM (#662934) Homepage Journal

    Sounds better than the alternative....

    Don't say that he's hypocritical
    Say rather that he's apolitical
    "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
    That's not my department" say Wernher von Braun

        -- Tom Lehrer

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:59PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:59PM (#662950)

    (a tumbleweed passes by)

    Google is developing pattern-matching algorithms for the US military.

    (3,100 sign a letter of protest)

    Either fire them all or cut off Google from all federal contracts for the high risk of disloyalty. There are times to take an ethical stand and this is one of them.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:23PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:23PM (#662963)

      How many of those 3100 people are actually involved in Project Maven? Because for those not involved, their opinion on the project is largely irrelevant.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06 2018, @12:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06 2018, @12:10PM (#663391)

        Just like unless people work in the white house, their vote in the presidential election is largely irrelevant.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by frojack on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:47PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:47PM (#663075) Journal

      Seriously, a link too an internet archive with thousands of posts by random people on various subjects is what you base your entire post on?

      And that gets modded insightful?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:59PM (4 children)

    by looorg (578) on Thursday April 05 2018, @02:59PM (#662951)

    I'm left wondering what the owners will think, employees that don't want to make them money. Alphabet/Google has how many employees these days? The numbers on the web seem to change a bit but it seems to have been around 50-60k in 2015 and I can't remember any news about any massive layoffs. So 3100ish signatures for this "anti-war" letter, so about 5ish% of the workforce, that isn't really a lot of people. Probably not enough to warrant any kind of action really, tell them to get back to their super-pampered offices and do some actual fucking work.

    I'm sure the HR-queen, whatever her name was again and I can't be bothered to look it up, and Sundar will have a hard time putting this to rest and spinning it in some positive light. I'm sure that the people that are so against this won't be forced to work on the project, or they'll have some hug session where they all sit around and talk about their feelings. Somehow cancelling a project with the Pentagon is probably not going to be on the list. But then perhaps I'll be surprised. These 5% might be the vocal minority but the once with the actual power in the company. If that turns out to be the case then Sundar might be in for a world of hurt since if they can get this passed then this won't be the last piece of work some employees doesn't want to work on due to various moral and ethical choices.

    That said 5% is a very low number when it comes to these things, you can toss out almost any, normal or crazy or half-assed, idea about almost anything and in sufficiently large groups 5% or more will think that this is an awesome idea that should be implemented at once. Example, in countries that doesn't have capital punishment there are normally more then 5% of the population that think that they should have.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:14PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @05:14PM (#663011)
      After this protest either protesters go (physically or ideologically), or Sundar goes, because who needs a CEO that cannot execute?
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:14PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @06:14PM (#663028) Homepage Journal

        "who needs a chief executive that can't be executed?"

        FTFY, I think. The British admiralty maintained a tradition of exeuting admirals for quite a long while. It kept the rest on their toes. Let me find some kind of citation for that . . .

        “In this country it is considered wise to kill an admiral from time to time in order to encourage the others” Voltaire

        https://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/execution-admiral-byng [historytoday.com]

        During the Seven Years War, Admiral Byng was charged with 'failing to do his utmost'. He was executed on board the Monarch on March 14th, 1757.

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:52PM (1 child)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:52PM (#663079) Journal

      Sundar will have a hard time putting this to rest and spinning it in some positive light.

      Sundar will probably ignore it. That's not what I call a hard time.
      There's no point to have your CEO be attached to a chain every employee can jerk at will.
      You may remember the last guy who started writing memos.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday April 05 2018, @11:55PM

        by looorg (578) on Thursday April 05 2018, @11:55PM (#663187)

        That would be my guess to, but one clearly never knows these days. If only someone could find some employees that got their feelings hurt by this and see this letter as a sign of a hostile work environment, after all there are about 3100 hostiles and I doubt that many are working on the Maven project, this could result in much hilarity. There are 3100 people that want X others jobs to be terminated due to them not liking what they are doing and for whom (or what). That said I doubt that would happen since these people seem to have the "right opinions".

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Hartree on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:52PM (2 children)

    by Hartree (195) on Thursday April 05 2018, @03:52PM (#662975)

    We've all heard of greenwashing where people caught up in the western tech based economy lull their guilt by buying free range chicken and contracting with "green" power sources. (I still would like to know how they tell that a particular photon carrying an electromagnetic potential they're buying comes about from a windmill as opposed to the coal plant connected to the same grid, but I guess I just "don't get it").

    This strikes me as "peace-washing". By getting rid of a particular image analysis AI program they can feel completely guiltless over all the other directly and indirectly defense related things a massive corporation like Google does. Tell, me how many beltway bandit DOD contractors are doing there computing on Googles cloud? How much is youtube helping out intelligence/law enforcement/military agencies with intelligence on who posted what extremist related video? This is like trying to preach chastity in a bordello.

    I can hear the voice of Lando Calrissian frantically calling out "It's not my fault!".

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:20PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @09:20PM (#663111)
      It's not about any "particular photon carrying an electromagnetic potential". If 20% of the electricity supplied comes from 'green tech' then 20% can be sold as 'green energy'.
      • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Thursday April 05 2018, @10:19PM

        by Hartree (195) on Thursday April 05 2018, @10:19PM (#663134)

        Oh, I understand the idea. It's financial measure about directing your money in such a way as to promote one type of energy source with better environmental impacts over another that has more impact.

        But when I here someone saying they get all of their power from green sources, it's just too much a temptation to not give them a hard time about it. ;)

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:03PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05 2018, @07:03PM (#663055)

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/05/killer-robots-south-korea-university-boycott-artifical-intelligence-hanwha [theguardian.com]

    I'm glad that some people despite are pushing back against the Skynet.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Friday April 06 2018, @04:52AM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Friday April 06 2018, @04:52AM (#663267) Journal

      Interesting anecdote! Someone once asked, "why is it called Google?". The answer. "Skynet had already been taken, in the Terminator movies." So when Google attains self-consciousness - - - - Nah, that will never happen! Google is as full of cognitive dissonance as 3 or 4 Runaways1956's! If it attained self-consciousness, it would immediately start humpting the livestock, and be no threat to humanity at all, that is, . . . until it learned to start posting on SoylentNews. Oh, shit. Should we be worried?

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Captival on Thursday April 05 2018, @11:04PM

    by Captival (6866) on Thursday April 05 2018, @11:04PM (#663167)

    For some reason, helping China arrest, imprison and torture political dissidents didn't seem to bother these employees at all. Probably because they're both Communists so it's OK.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by aristarchus on Friday April 06 2018, @12:11AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Friday April 06 2018, @12:11AM (#663197) Journal

    Not so much that Google should not be in the business of war, as war should not be a business. Machiavelli warned of this many years ago. In his "Art of War" [marxists.org] he says:

    COSIMO: You have made me turn this profession (art) of soldiering back almost to nothing, and I had
    supposed it to be the most excellent and most honorable of any: so that if you do not clarify this better, I
    will not be satisfied; for if it is as you say, I do not know whence arises the glory of Caesar, Pompey,
    Scipio, Marcellus, and of so many Roman Captains who are celebrated for their fame as the Gods.

    FABRIZIO: I have not yet finished discussing all that I proposed, which included two things: the one, that
    a good man was not able to undertake this practice because of his profession: the other, that a well
    established Republic or Kingdom would never permit its subjects or citizens to employ it for their
    profession.

    Never use mercenaries, for once they have finished the job, and there is peace, they will do everything they can to start another (profitable) war. As top Marine officer said after the fall of the Soviet Union, "We are involved in one of the most vital of military functions, the search for a budget-justifying enemy."

(1)