Well, they've not shifted their position on Project Maven. A spokesperson defended their activities in a statement in April, saying the technology "is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work."
They also claim to only provide open-source software to the program, i.e. technology that could be adopted by the military whether Google wanted them to or not.
But the tech giant's active involvement in the project could still be a major blow to its public reputation.
“It’s not like Google is this little machine-learning startup that’s trying to find clients in different industries,” another employee told Gizmodo. “It just seems like it makes sense for Google and Google’s reputation to stay out of that.”
It’s not just employees protesting about this latest development. More than 200 researchers and academics involved in artificial intelligence signed an open letter written by the International Committee for Robot Arms Control asking Google not to weaponize its technology and to cancel its work with the Defense Department, saying:
"The private data collected by Google comes with a responsibility not only to use that data to improve its own technologies and expand its business, but also to benefit society. The company’s motto 'Don’t Be Evil' famously embraces this responsibility."