Last month it became known that Google has offered their resources to the Ministry of defense for the Maven project, a research initiative to develop computer vision algorithms that can analyze the videos. In response, more than 3,100 employees of Google have signed a letter urging the General Director of Google Sundar Pichai to reconsider the participation of the company because “Google should not interfere in military Affairs”.
Work on the Maven project was started in April of last year, and although the details of what will suit Google, not yet clear, it is obvious that this is a research initiative of the Pentagon, aimed at improving the analysis of shooting drones. Google has confirmed that it has provided access to its software TensorFlow open source, which is used in machine learning applications, which are able to understand the content of the photos.
Google describes the work on the Maven project as “not related to combat action”, and Diana green, head of Google cloud-based operations, which is included in the Board of Directors of Alphabet, says that this technology will not be used for “control drones” and “launch weapons”. But this is not enough for employees who signed the letter to appeal to Pichai. “Although it excludes a small number of direct applications,” the letter says, “the technology created for the military, and once they get it, they can easily make it work on these tasks.”
Further, the letter urges Google to quit the project and Maven to create and implement a policy of non-involvement in the creation of military technology. “This contract puts at risk the reputation of Google and directly contradict our core values. The creation of such technology to assist the U.S. government in military surveillance — and possibly lethal — unacceptable.”
Other companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, also worked on projects in defense technology, but Google employees who signed the letter, I do not see anything good. “A unique story of Google, its motto (“don’t be evil”) and direct impact on the lives of billions of people puts the company in a direction,” they wrote in the letter. In the past, Google is very wary of military research. In 2013, she refused the offer of the DARPA after buying up several robotic companies with ties with this Agency.