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posted by janrinok on Monday May 14 2018, @11:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the courage-of-their-convictions dept.

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"


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:15AM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:15AM (#679836)

    First, a huge amount of credit to these employees who are willing to take a moral stance. It's easy to posture, but it's very hard to choose "no paycheck" over something as abstract as "it's the right thing to do."

    Second... for a company of so many thousand, the resignation of a dozen employees is only a minor blip. It will cause some turmoil for their specific teams, but it will hardly cause any fundamental pain to the company. (If anything, that just makes my first point even stronger and why these people deserve more moral credit.)

    Third... with only a dozen people leaving, it makes me wonder how many of these people were wanting to leave anyway, and this just provided a convenient excuse. It could be 0, but it does make me wonder.

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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:31AM (10 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:31AM (#679842) Homepage Journal

    Someone said that all twelve of them are the same people who continue to walk into the invisible glass walls.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    That's sarcasm. I don't know a thing about any of them. I can guess that they are all special snowflakes, but I know nothing more than is in the story.

    --
    "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:33AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:33AM (#679844)

      And we all assume you're a redneck jackass :)

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:51AM (4 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:51AM (#679855) Homepage Journal

        ASSuming shit just makes an ASS out of you - but not me.

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:12AM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:12AM (#679901)

          Pot meet kettle. Amusing that luttle bit went over your ahead, or did you miss your own assumption that they must have been "snowflakes"?

          • (Score: 0, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:30AM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:30AM (#679910) Homepage Journal

            What is obvious here is, forcing the reader to scroll down just a little bit to see the "punchline" of a joke post is just too complicated for some readers. Over my head? FFS, you have to look up to see my knees! No wonder snowflakes have such a hard life. You're all looking up to see what the rest of us are doing.

            --
            "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @09:57PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @09:57PM (#680207)

              Someone said that all twelve of them are the same people who continue to walk into the invisible glass walls.

              scrolling down

              That's sarcasm. I don't know a thing about any of them. I can guess that they are all special snowflakes, but I know nothing more than is in the story.

              It is a good thing you put quotes around your "punchline" cause the two sentences don't even make sense together even if I'm being generous with joke interpretation. You first say they are idiots who walk into walls, then you say they must be special snowflakes, but you know nothing more?

              You don't know anything, your joke was terrible, you got called out for it, you gave a totally oblivious retort, and now you're doubling down on the snowflake gag? Pffft, you trying to beat out Buzzy for cluelessness?

          • (Score: 4, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:59PM

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:59PM (#680113) Journal

            What's more "snowflake" than pitching a bitch fit because somebody did something that has absolutely no effect on your life or anything you care about.

            Conservatives are the biggest snowflakes of them all. It's only their projection that has them seeing it in everyone else.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:53AM (#679857)

        You don't have to assume. The facts speak loud and clear.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:53AM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:53AM (#679936) Journal

      That was at Apple, not GOOG:

      Apple Employees Reportedly Walking Into Glass Walls at New HQ [soylentnews.org]

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:59AM (1 child)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:59AM (#679938) Journal

      Wasn't it Apple that had all the employees hitting the glass doors?

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:25PM (#680047)

        Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
        Otter: [to Boon] Germans?
        Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:50AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:50AM (#679854)

    Why the right thing to do if computers can better identify targets than people. It could lead to fewer unintended deaths

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:48AM (#679892)

      It could lead to fewer unintended deaths

      I'm afraid you aren't very familiar with the US's drone program. They are trying to identify more people to attack with their drones.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:17AM (2 children)

    by looorg (578) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:17AM (#679876)

    So lets see, last time this was up there was as I recall it thousands of Googlers (or whatever we are supposed to call them) that was up in arms and demanded a stop to the military industrial complex (TM) killing babies with drones using Googles patented not evil tech. So a dozen, give or take a few, people quit. Guess it was just a lot of bark and not a lot of follow thru on that empty threat. A dozen people is tiny fraction of a percent of their entire staff.

    Still it might not be the number, it might be that those leaving was really important people to the project which might be a devastating blow or it might be some drones that won't be missed and replaced by the army of applicants before they where even out the door. After all every company has turnover of employees, I doubt this is more then a blip. If the thousands that signed had left there might have been an impact.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TheRaven on Tuesday May 15 2018, @11:21AM (1 child)

      by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @11:21AM (#680009) Journal
      Google employee morality: Building massive surveillance system and psychological manipulation platform with no oversight? Fine. Building robots that might make the military slightly more efficient? EVIL!
      --
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @03:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @03:39AM (#680614)
        Uh. The hours people spend on youtube, gmail etc are more likely to be the hours they're not busy killing someone.

        I'm all for bread and circuses if the bread and circuses are good and almost everyone gets them.