Internal emails, reviewed by Gizmodo, suggest that Google's leadership was initially very enthusiastic about the project, as it could lead to more military contracts in the future. Staff have petitioned against it, resigned in protest, flooded message boards, and confronted senior management in fractious meetings. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
Internal emails reviewed by Gizmodo show that Google executives "viewed Project Maven as a golden opportunity" to win other AI contracts, including those pertaining to the military and U.S. intelligence groups.
Internal emails suggested that executives saw the contract as a huge opportunity while being concerned about how the company's involvement would be perceived, Gizmodo said.
The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018.
The conflicting narrative adds yet another wrinkle to Google's ongoing struggle over ethical uses of AI. Earlier this month, thousands of Google employees signed a letter asking the company to drop its contract with the government over Project Maven, and a dozen quit in protest as well.
Yesterday's announcement is a response to widespread and mounting opposition from Google employees and the public to its collaboration with the military.
In the end, Google did not promote its work on Maven, but The Intercept said the Google team agreed that the firm should work to agree a "narrative" as quickly as possible. "This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google". AI could also be used to pinpoint submarines using sonar data. The project's goal is to create an AI program that will improve the targeting of drone strikes.
Greene also previously claimed that the project was "small" and only worth $9 million.
The decision follows strong opposition in the technology giant's workforce.
Project Maven includes several subcontractors. The network has been described by military officials as a "global fabric" for its warfighters.
Google, along with the other technology giants, is intimately integrated into the United States military and intelligence apparatus.
"They may want to act like they're not in the business of war, but the business of war long ago came to them", said Mr. Singer, author of a book examining such issues called "LikeWar", scheduled for publication in the fall. "This program is directly related to the Sept 13 memo about moving DOD aggressively to the cloud I sent last week".