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USA: Our employer shouldn’t be in the business of war

Thursday 5 April 2018, by siawi3

Source: APRIL 4, 2018, the New York Times

USA: Our employer shouldn’t be in the business of war

Open letter signed by Google employees

4 April 2018

In this open letter to Google’s CEO, over 3,000 employees urged the company not to work on a Pentagon ‘AI surveillance engine’ used for drone warfare

Open letter signed by Google employees

Dear Sundar,

We believe that Google should not be in the business of war. Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled and that Google draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.

Google is implementing Project Maven, a customized AI surveillance engine that uses “wide area motion imagery” data captured by US government drones to detect vehicles and other objects, track their motions and provide results to the Department of Defense.

Recently, Googlers voiced concerns about Maven internally. Diane Greene responded, assuring them that the technology will not “operate or fly drones” and “will not be used to launch weapons”. While this eliminates a narrow set of direct applications, the technology is being built for the military, and once it’s delivered it could easily be used to assist in these tasks. This plan will irreparably damage Google’s brand and its ability to compete for talent.

We request that you cancel this project immediately

Amid growing fears of biased and weaponized AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust. By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon and General Dynamics. The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google. Google’s unique history, its motto “don’t be evil”, and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart.

We cannot outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties. Google’s stated values make this clear: every one of our users is trusting us. Never jeopardize that. Ever. This contract puts Google’s reputation at risk and stands in direct opposition to our core values. Building this technology to assist the US government in military surveillance – and potentially lethal outcomes – is not acceptable.

Recognizing Google’s moral and ethical responsibility, and the threat to Google’s reputation, we request that you:

1. Cancel this project immediately.

2. Draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.

This open letter was originally published in the New York Times

SEE THE LETTER HERE :

We believe that Google should not be in the business of war - text of open letter by Google employees