Google is working with the U.S. military to deploy artificial intelligence that helps drones automatically distinguish between people and objects. The initiative is called "Project Maven," and some of Google’s employees are not happy about it. Over 3,000 have signed a petition protesting the partnership, and about a dozen employees have resigned, according to reporting by Gizmodo, which broke the story about worker backlash.
Decades ago it was the U.S. military that spurred innovations like the personal computer and the internet. Today, the capabilities of digital technology, especially artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis, are being driven by private companies serving our consumption habits — companies like Amazon and Google.
Peter Asaro is a philosopher of science and technology at the New School in New York City. He’s one of about 100 academics who signed a letter protesting Google’s partnership with the Department of Defense.
Asaro said collaboration between the U.S. military and big tech companies like Google will speed up development of autonomous weaponry — weapons that can automatically find, target and kill.
"The timeline of how quickly we could see those systems would be moved up dramatically if Google throws its weight into building the key components of autonomous weapons," Asaro said. "Those are still very difficult, very challenging problems."