More than 3100 Google employees have written a letter to their CEO Sundar Pichai demanding that the company immediately cancel its contract with the U.S. military on a drone program known as Project Maven.
There’s a motto at Google: “Don’t be evil.”
Today, more than 3,000 Google employees fear their company is on the verge of breaching that code by helping the U.S. military improve its spy drone software.
“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” the letter states. “Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled, and that Google draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.” [The 22 Weirdest Military Weapons]
Project Maven, which Google signed onto last month, fits into the DOD’s larger goal of improving America’s ability to “[win] wars with computer algorithms and artificial intelligence,” DOD officials said in a statement. Google agreed to help with this mission by developing artificial intelligence software capable of rapidly scanning thousands of hours of surveillance drone footage and automatically detecting “38 classes of objects” that military analysts regularly look for.
Despite a Google spokesperson’s assurance that their new tech would be “for non-offensive uses only,” many Google employees were instantly wary of the partnership, Gizmodo reported. In the new complaint letter, which is currently circulating within Google, employees voiced their concerns about the tech’s potential applications in warfare.
“The technology is being built for the military,” the letter says, “and once it’s delivered it could easily be used to assist in [lethal] tasks.”
Part of the letter also sought assurances from the DOD that Project Maven would not be used for offensive purposes. There are no signs from Google, however, that they intend on canceling their contract.
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Photo courtesy DOD