(RTTNews.com) - Thousands of Google employees have urged CEO Sundar Pichai to pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to analyze video imagery used by military drones.
In a letter to the CEO, the employees have urged that Google withdraw from Project Maven. They also asked Google to publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither the company nor its contractors will "ever build warfare technology."
The letter, which was published by the New York Times, was signed by more than 3,000 Google employees, according to the newspaper.
The U.S. Department of Defense or DoD has said it must integrate artificial intelligence or AI and machine learning more effectively across its operations to maintain advantages over increasingly capable adversaries and competitors.
Google is implementing Project Maven, a customized AI surveillance engine that uses "Wide Area Motion Imagery" data captured by the military drones to detect vehicles and other objects, track their motions and provide results to the DoD.
Google is providing the DoD with access to its software to help build object recognition algorithms.
While Google and the Pentagon have said that work under Project Maven will not lead to the development of autonomous weapons systems, many Google employees are not convinced and have voiced their concern about Project Maven internally.
In addition, Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO and a current member of the executive board of Google's parent company, Alphabet, is a member of a Pentagon advisory board.
In the letter to Pichai, the employees noted that participation in Project Maven will "irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent."
"By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn't make this any less risky for Google," the employees said.
The employees also noted that Google cannot outsource the moral responsibility of its technologies to third parties. Further, they stated that building technology to assist the U.S. Government in military surveillance and potentially lethal outcomes was not acceptable.
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