Google is once again under public scrutiny after its controversial Pentagon AI project caused some Googlers to resign.
According to reports, nearly a dozen Google employees resigned after the Pentagon AI project was revealed. The revelation allegedly claims that Google is working on artificial intelligence systems for the Pentagon.
The Googlers that resigned left due to ethical concerns which involve the company’s collaboration with the United States Defense Department. It appears that Google is helping the military analyze drone data by classifying images of people and objects automatically.
Reports claim that Google is currently helping the U.S. DoD’s Project Maven–which aims to leverage machine learning for advanced recognition technology.
“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,” one report said.
Most of the resigned staffers reportedly wrote accounts of their decision to leave the company. Ex-staffers shared their stories via an internal document. Many of the employees who resigned aired their concerns to Gizmodo.
90 experts in AI and computer science wrote an open letter to Google executives to call for the end of their support to military technologies.
According to the Googlers, the Google executives have become less transparent with their workforce especially when it comes to topics involving controversial business decisions. Aside from that, the staffers also noted that the executives have appeared to be less interested in listening to the objections of the people.
“Over the last couple of months, I’ve been less and less impressed with the response and the way people’s concerns are being treated and listened to,” one of the resigned employees said in a statement. “I realized if I can’t recommend people join here, then why am I still here?”
To date, this is the first mass exodus of Google employees in opposition to a business decision. Other than those that resigned, over 4,000 Google employees have also aired their concerns about the Project Maven in an internal petition that calls for the company to cancel the contract with Pentagon.