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posted by janrinok on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the im-sorry-dave-im-afraid-i-cant-do-that dept.

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?

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:53AM (3 children)

    by takyon (881) <> on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:53AM (#650458) Journal

    Google buys military robot-maker Boston Dynamics []
    Softbank buys robot-maker Boston Dynamics from Alphabet []

    They got out of the fledgling military robot business, but the taint of easy m_______-i________ c______ money remains. And they aren't alone.

    Announcing the New AWS Secret Region []

    I doubt enough employees will revolt to cause any change, but if they did, the solution for Google might be to split any military-related software business into a separate entity under the Alphabet umbrella. And if that's too obvious, they can just invest heavily in (without acquiring) tech startups that cater to the military, police, intelligence community, etc.

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @09:56AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @09:56AM (#650477)

    The purchase of Boston Dynamics really pissed me off. Boston Dynamics produced military hardware that will be very important to our future. There is a duty to support the nation, and Google at best doesn't give a shit. Often, they actively work against America.

    The company was founded by people obsessed with legged robots, and then populated with pro-military pro-America people. They made big steel gasoline-powered outdoor robots that would gallop and jump. Google then comes along and orders them to make a harmless (perhaps privacy invading) cute plastic indoor robot with wheels. Lots of employees left, permanently dispersing what had been a great team.

    What the robot really needed was weaponry. Since endangering a robot is OK, slower weapons are OK. Imagine if it could pin an enemy down using the legs like a wild animal does, and then inject anesthesia. If speed does happen to matter, make the robot's body a bomb. In that case, it runs up to the enemy like a suicide bomber.

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:45PM (1 child)

      by Bot (3902) on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:45PM (#650568) Journal

      > Since endangering a robot is OK

      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:56PM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:56PM (#650600) Journal

        Since endangering a robot is OK


        Here, hold this. We are trying to study what the ticking sound relates to. Please stand over there.

        A little farther, please.