Google is working on a military drone project with the Department of Defense and its employees aren’t happy about it. So unhappy, in fact, that many are resigning in protest.
According to Gizmodo, roughly a dozen Google employees have announced they’ll be leaving the company in light of its involvement in “Project Maven”, a military program that controversially uses machine-learning and image-recognition software to sift through millions of hours of drone-captured video footage and identify things of interest – people included.
The (now ex-) employees have raised a number of issues, including an increasing lack of transparency within the corporation, the blind eye frequently turned to employee concerns, and ethical questions over the use of AI-controlled drones in military situations. Several have shared their reasons for leaving in an internal memo, which has since been discussed with journalists at Gizmodo.
“At some point, I realized I could not in good faith recommend anyone join Google, knowing what I knew. I realized if I can’t recommend people join here, then why am I still here?” one employee said.
This was quickly met with an employee-driven petition signed by nearly 4,000 Googlers, calling for the company to withdraw from the project and enact a policy stating they would not take part in military activities in future. Their point: "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war... This contract puts Google’s reputation at risk and stands in direct opposition to our core values. "
So what does Google make of this latest development?