Should Google sell its AI tech to the US military?

AI weaponstgeditor

Google is once again trapped in the controversy for working with the US government. The company’s artificial intelligence technologies are being used for US military, which has led to the controversy both inside and outside of Google.

US Department of Defense (DoD) is using TensorFlow AI system to for its Project Maven. The project was established in July 2017. The DoD had hired Google’s cloud division to work on the project. Project Maven was initiated to enhance the surveillance drones used by the US military.

Apart Google, a number of academics and AI experts have been part of Project Maven. The problem started when some Google employees outraged after they discovered the use of Google’s AI. A few months ago over 4000 Google employees had signed a letter asking Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to stop the work on Project Maven.

As part of the protest, almost a dozen of Googlers have resigned the company. The internal outburst has led Google CEO to act. Sundar Pichai and other executives are drafting ethical principles document to guide the deployment of Google’s powerful Artificial Intelligence technology.

Google is one of the leading companies trying to win the Pentagon cloud contract worth $10 billion. If the search engine giant fails to win the contract, it will lose out to rivals that are rushing to cut deals with the US government. In fact, Google’s Cloud chief Diane Greene is the great advocate of working with the government.

The problem is far more internal. Many employees are not happy with the rationalization of Greene. Even members of Google’s AI team have raised objections. In the Google I/O 2018 that happened last week, AI chief Jeff Dean has revealed that the company has signed an open letter in 2015, opposing the use of AI in autonomous weapons.

It’s notAI military systems are extremely accurate. There have been incidentsAI military systems have failed. The primary concern here is, if the existing technology is still unreliable, it can be exploited by the hackers to make battlefield decisions. Gary Marcus, the AI researcher New York University said, “I wouldn’t trust any software to make a mission-critical decision. If Google wants to get in the business of doing classified things for the military, then the public has the right to be concerned about what kind of company Google is becoming.”


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