Technology blog Gizmodo earlier reported Google's decision that it wouldn't try to get the contract renewed. Google's capitulation on a high-profile government contract comes amid debate within the firm's campus about its involvement in war. As news of Project Maven leaked in recent months, employees objecting to the program protested on internal message boards. Some employees signed a petition asking Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai to end the program. A Google spokesman said recently the Pentagon uses its technology only to recognize objects and help "save lives," not for launching weapons.
Maven is General Motors' Zipcar-style vehicle rental service, letting you pay an hourly rate to temporarily borrow a ride. But the company is now targeting folks who want to get around for longer periods at a time with Maven Reserve. The offering enables people to reserve a car for up to 28 days at a time, including a dedicated parking space, insurance and $100 of gas in the tank. In addition, users will apparently receive a "personalized walk-through of the vehicle," as they take delivery of their fancy-schmancy rental car. Maven Reserve will only be available in LA and San Fransisco to begin with, although GM has plans to broaden it out later.
Google is ending its involvement with Project Maven, the controversial Pentagon research program that sought to use AI to improve object recognition in military drones. Diane Greene, head of Google Cloud, told employees during a Friday meeting that the company will let its current contract with the Defense Department lapse in 2019 and that it will not pursue a new one, according to the New York Times and Gizmodo. The announcement comes shortly after Google said it would draft an ethics policy to guide its involvement in future military projects -- one that would explicitly ban the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry. "It is incumbent on us to show leadership [in the ethical use of AI]," Green reportedly said during the meeting. I am happy about this decision.
Earlier this year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai described artificial intelligence as more profound to humanity than fire. Thursday, after protests from thousands of Google employees over a Pentagon project, Pichai offered guidelines for how Google will--and won't--use the technology. One thing Pichai says Google won't do: work on AI for weapons. But the guidelines leave much to the discretion of company executives and allow Google to continue to work for the military. The ground rules are a response to more than 4,500 Googlers signing a letter protesting the company's involvement in a Pentagon project called Maven that uses machine learning to interpret drone surveillance video.
According to the Google leadership, the company will not renew its Project Maven contract when it expires in 2019. Project Maven is the company's involvement with the U.S. military which involves the use of Artificial Intelligence to detect and identify people or objects in military drone surveillance videos. Many of the employees at Google were upset and 3,000 of them signed a petition voicing their concerns of Google's involvement with the military which could in turn be harmful for Google. They were against the development of image recognition technology which could be used by military drones to identify and track objects. It was reported on June 1 by Gizmodo that the company would not renew the Project Maven contract after June 2019.