Word is going around that a dozen Google employees have left the company in protest over the continued involvement in Project Maven, an artificial intelligence project aimed at improving the Pentagon's drone warfare capabilities. The military pilot program uses AI to speed up the analysis of images, by classifying images gathered by drones as objects and people. Gizmodo reports the former Google employees believe the firm shouldn't be doing this kind of work:
The employees who are resigning in protest, several of whom discussed their decision to leave with Gizmodo, say that executives have become less transparent with their workforce about controversial business decisions and seem less interested in listening to workers’ objections than they once did. In the case of Maven, Google is helping the Defense Department implement machine learning to classify images gathered by drones. But some employees believe humans, not algorithms, should be responsible for this sensitive and potentially lethal work—and that Google shouldn’t be involved in military work at all.
An internal petition calling on Google to immediately cancel the project and institute a policy against taking on future military jobs received almost 4,000 signatures.