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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @10:58PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @10:58PM (#650666)

    As far as political and strategic planning/decision making goes, the US has done a piss poor job, and way too many people have died or been maimed unnecessarily. That pisses me off a great deal.

    Recognizing this, then you should dispense with the silly categorization of wars into "peacekeeping wars" (no such thing), "military objective only wars" (no such thing), etc.

    It's me again. Just to clarify, I wasn't "categorizing" wars in that fashion. Rather, I was differentiating focused *military* objectives (regardless of context or theater) with *political* objectives.

    How does the old saw go? "The President proposes and the military disposes." When specific *military* objectives (e.g., "take and hold this territory", "secure this perimeter", "damage/destroy specific military resources/capabilities", etc.) not poilitical ones (e.g., "win the war", "win hearts and minds", "set up a functioning government", etc.) are presented, the US military is among the most (if not the most) capable of any military force on the planet.

    That doesn't mean that the US can or will prevail in any and all conflicts/contexts. Case in point, the invasion of Iraq (as misguided as it was) was a ringing military success. Iraqi military forces were handily defeated, its leaders were either arrested or fled, and major governmental, defense and transportation centers were seized and secured.

    What happened afterwards was not so successful. The steps taken by senior US civilian officials [] *created* a well trained, angry resistance movement among a large minority of the population. Even so, when tasked with strictly military objectives (e.g., pacify Fallujah []) the US military acquitted itself quite well, despite the political failures of senior *civilian* US government officials.

    That's not to say that I supported such military/political action. I did not. But claiming that political failures and unrestrained/corrupt spending practices makes the US military "useless" is stupid in the extreme.

  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Saturday March 10 2018, @11:20PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @11:20PM (#650674) Journal

    But claiming that political failures and unrestrained/corrupt spending practices makes the US military "useless" is stupid in the extreme.

    No, of course not. Those failures and practices merely reduce its effectiveness, and even then, only in certain areas.