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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: 4, Insightful) by jmorris on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:29AM (26 children)

    by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:29AM (#679840)

    This is probably good for Google long term. The article was careful to avoid any details about the disgruntled employees but it is a pretty safe bet they are a freak show. Encouraging these defective people to leave will make Google stronger and weaken the companies they end up at.

    I can guess they are the defectives because they totally misunderstand the reality of the workplace. Employees work for management, management works for the shareholders. Employees do not give orders to management unless they somehow represent a lot of voting shares.

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:34AM (7 children)

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:34AM (#679845)

    Good slave.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jmorris on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:44AM (6 children)

      by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:44AM (#679850)

      If you do not want to work for a publicly traded corporation, don't. But if you work for one it is foolish to pretend it is something other than what it is, even more foolish to expect it to change its essential nature because of a few delicate snowflakes' feelz.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:55AM

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:55AM (#679860)

        Quite right.

        Those people should know their place and never question their betters.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:58AM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:58AM (#679865)

        Are you dumb or what? The employees that quit aren't foolish. They aren't pretending. They aren't snowflakes. They didn't like what the company they worked for was turning into and they quit. What part of that are you ragging on? Awwww, do they have more guts than you? That's okay - we'll let you think you're special even if you don't stand up for what you believe.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Captival on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:10AM (3 children)

          by Captival (6866) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:10AM (#679869)

          Apparently turning in Chinese political dissidents to be tortured and executed was perfectly okay for these employees. It was helping out their own country that's the problem.

          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:34AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:34AM (#679886)

            And you have done exactly *WHAT* to help Chinese rebels? Yup, didn't think so.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @04:04AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @04:04AM (#679940)

              I haven't directly harmed them, that's for sure.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:58AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:58AM (#679973)

                I, too, look the other way.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:35AM (#679846)

    Does your brain hurt when you wake up? I can only assume you're constantly smashed off yer ass and just have a really good spellchecker.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:46AM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:46AM (#679851)

    I can guess they are the defectives because they totally misunderstand the reality of the workplace. Employees work for management, management works for the shareholders. Employees do not give orders to management unless they somehow represent a lot of voting shares.

    This is a gross over-simplification, and dramatically undervalues half of the equation. I'm not sure if that's by design or you really believe it.

    Simply put, there is labor (workers) and capital (money). Labor provides labor (they work) and capital provides capital (they pay money). If either side doesn't like the arrangement, they are free to withdraw from it. Case in point, if capital thinks they are being overcharged for a low quality work, they can stop contributing (stop paying, e.g. firing the worker).

    In this case, labor is thinking it doesn't like the deal (they are being asked to do something they don't agree with), and are withdrawing from it. It was a simple negotiation... "We workers don't like what we are working on." "We management aren't going to change." "Then we workers are leaving."

    Employees have a lot of say in what they do, and far more than corporate America would have you believe. There is a reason they are called "employees," and not "slaves."

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:57AM (12 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:57AM (#679863) Homepage Journal

      There is a reason they are called "employees," and not "slaves."

      Of course. Slaves are expensive. Employees, not so much. Especially so in this day and age when corporations import skills from the next town over, or half the world away, instead of training the work force.

      There is also a reason companies like Uber resist calling their workers "employees". The company has even less responsibility to contractors, than to employees, or slaves.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:53AM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:53AM (#679893)

        Of course. Slaves are expensive. Employees, not so much.

        Shut up, Kanye.

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:19AM (9 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:19AM (#679904) Homepage Journal

          Do I sense some butthurt? You may want to fill out a form: https://thelibertarianrepublic.com/senator-releases-hurt-feelings-form-for-butthurt-liberals/ [thelibertarianrepublic.com]

          Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy some great entertainment: https://thepoliticalinsider.com/liberals-crying-pictures-make-day-even-brighter1/ [thepoliticalinsider.com]

          --
          "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:26AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:26AM (#679909)

            Actually, I was just lumping you in with the other mindless sheep who regurgitate what they are told by their masters.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by crafoo on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:18AM (7 children)

            by crafoo (6639) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:18AM (#679920)

            Actually, all those people legitimately crying over Hillary losing really disturbs me. It's enough people for me to question how valid democracy really is. Hillary is a monster. I don't understand how anyone paying attention could help but notice that fact.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:54PM (6 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @01:54PM (#680038)

              Actually, all those people legitimately crying over Hillary losing really disturbs me.

              It cracks me up. A great feeling of Schadenfreude washes over me and warms my heart. It's not often a smug entitled adult-child gets a life lesson on camera. It's all the more wonderful because the media had been telling them, "We got this" for months and months. The media is hysterically bitter a year and a half later for being so wrong, "by a landslide." Reading the NYT, watching MSNBC, ABC or CNN gives me the giggles when I can just feel the lopsided hate, venom and bitterness that will ruin their credibility for years to come.

              • (Score: 2, Troll) by realDonaldTrump on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:33PM

                by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @03:33PM (#680067) Homepage Journal

                The election was rigged. And Crooked Hillary still lost. She failed miserably. I said, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? And now the Fake News Media and the Dems -- Hillary most of all -- are wishing they'd just given it to me. Democracy is very overrated, folks. What were we even having it -- what were we having it? Her policies are so bad. Boy, do we have a big difference.

              • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:20PM (4 children)

                by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:20PM (#680162)

                the media had been telling them, "We got this" for months and months. The media is hysterically bitter a year and a half later for being so wrong, "by a landslide."

                By a landslide of losing the popular vote, sure

                --
                "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
                • (Score: 2) by Oakenshield on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:01PM (3 children)

                  by Oakenshield (4900) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:01PM (#680170)

                  I think the point was that the media had been claiming it was going to be a landslide victory for HRC.

                  By a landslide of losing the popular vote, sure

                  Which is entirely irrelevant. The contest was played by the rules of the game. You don't win the World Series by getting the most hits. It's the runs that count.

                  • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:08PM (2 children)

                    by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:08PM (#680171)

                    Yes, I'm aware what the rules are. I think we should change them because most of the reasoning behind the Electoral College really doesn't apply anymore.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact [wikipedia.org]

                    The contest was played by the rules of the game.

                    Not that Trump didn't imply he wouldn't accept the results if he lost, just to drive home to everybody again how big of a douchenozzle he is.

                    --
                    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
                    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Oakenshield on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:19PM (1 child)

                      by Oakenshield (4900) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:19PM (#680176)

                      Yes, I'm aware what the rules are. I think we should change them because most of the reasoning behind the Electoral College really doesn't apply anymore.

                      Before you start changing the rules of the Electoral College which affect ALL of us, maybe you should start a little closer to home and get rid of all those DNC superdelegates that subvert the will of the Democratic voters in favor of party whims. I think the only reason most Electoral College reformists want change is sour grapes. Had things worked out the opposite way, Democrats would be holding up the Electoral College as the great savior that prevented Trump from being elected.

                      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:49PM

                        by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:49PM (#680192)

                        Before you start changing the rules of the Electoral College which affect ALL of us, maybe you should start a little closer to home and get rid of all those DNC superdelegates that subvert the will of the Democratic voters in favor of party whims.

                        Sure, sounds like a good idea.

                        I think the only reason most Electoral College reformists want change is sour grapes. Had things worked out the opposite way, Democrats would be holding up the Electoral College as the great savior that prevented Trump from being elected.

                        Believe it or not, I was actually in favor of the NPVIC *before* the election. This latest debacle just reinforced that opinion.

                        --
                        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @03:44AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @03:44AM (#680615)
        And shills are even cheaper.
  • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @12:56AM (#679861)

    Why are you assuming that they are transsexual or vegan?

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Arik on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:57AM

    by Arik (4543) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @02:57AM (#679915) Journal
    Yeah, nah, I'm going to have to call bull on this one too.

    Workers and employers have two-way relationships, not one-way. Very few, if any, workers are attracted to their job initially, or motivated to stay with it long-term, *solely* on the basis of pecuniary interests. Employers often understand this and use it in recruitment, and google is a particularly visible example of that, touting their working environment heavily in recruitment.

    Well, you can't have it both ways. If you hire a lot of people at least partially on the strength of 'this is a good place to work because we fit your values' then you shouldn't be shocked if those same employees may later want to have a word with you about how you're currently doing on that score.

    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday May 15 2018, @04:01AM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @04:01AM (#679939) Journal

    No, no, you need to say it with a German accent. "I vas shust followink orders, mein Herr! Befehl ist befehl!"

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...