In Brief

Project Maven: Google employees resign over controversial US military AI programme

More than 4,000 staff sign petition urging company to stop developing “technology for war”

Google employees are resigning in protest at a controversial artificial intelligence programme being developed for the US military by the company, according to reports. 

Dubbed Project Maven, the system is designed to “speed up analysis” of military drone footage by “automatically classifying images of objects and people”, Gizmodo reports.

The tech news website says “about a dozen” staff working on the project are believed to have walked out, citing concerns ranging from the ethics of the AI programme to the search engine giant’s political stance.

More than 4,000 employees have signed a petition calling on Google to ditch the project and vow never to develop “technology for war”, says ZDNet.

The protest is also being backed by “some 400 technology academics and researchers from around the world”, who have published an open letter to Google, adds the tech site.

According to CNet, the company has assured staff that its partnership with the Pentagon is “specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes” and only uses “open-source object recognition software available to any Google Cloud customer”. 

Responding to the petition and resignations, a Google spokesperson told the Daily Express that the technology being developed under the Project Maven programme “is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives”.

Although “any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns”, the spokesperson said, Google is “actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts”. 

Recommended

The Chips Act: congress’s $52bn giveaway 
US President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor chip 
Getting to grips with . . .

The Chips Act: congress’s $52bn giveaway 

How TikTok is shaking up the news
TikTok on a screen
In Focus

How TikTok is shaking up the news

How Instagram’s makeover has alienated users
A woman looks at her smartphone
Why we’re talking about . . .

How Instagram’s makeover has alienated users

Massage apps, copyright and a tropical disease
Person gets a massage
Podcasts

Massage apps, copyright and a tropical disease

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner