Alphabet Inc Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s decision to continue with its collaboration with the Department of Defense for Project Maven despite strong protests from its employees have led to around a dozen of them leaving the company. A group of Google’s employees recently protested against the involvement of the leading search engine company in Pentagon’s military-industrial complex project. More than 4000 employees have sent a petition demanding that Google should quit the controversial program immediately and should avoid military work even in the future.
Google Fails To Pacify Its Employees
The Project Maven involves the use of machine learning technology with the help of which it would be easier to automatically analyze the footage of drone. However, it is not exactly clear why the Artificial Intelligence is being deployed for this purpose. The protests started almost a month ago when the employees started objecting to Google’s involvement in the secretive project of Pentagon. The search engine giant tried to calm down the concerns of its employees saying that the technology will be used strictly for non-offensive purposes. However, the employees are not satisfied with this clarification.
The petition by the employees says that Google should not get involved in a war. Even AI and ethics academics supporting the petition want the company to ban autonomous weapon systems.
Employees Question Google’s Increasing Involvement In Military Spheres
The employees, in general, feel that Google is drifting away from its core principle or mantra, “don’t be evil.” The employees who resigned has said that they are concerned over the ethics behind Google’s use of AI in drone operations as well as its increasing involvement in the political and military spheres. The company’s participation in the Conservative Political Action Conference as a sponsor has irked its employees who believe that Google must understand that its obligations are not restricted to America but go beyond its boundaries since it is a global user base.
Despite Google issuing a statement that it is not using the AI technology for the drone to combat operations, the employees are not convinced. Rather many of them have said that the company has become less transparent with the employees and is not paying much attention to their objections which is quite different from what it used to be earlier.