More than 300 computer science academics and researchers expressed their solidarity with Google employees protesting the company’s involvement with the Pentagon.
The scientists have signed an open letter supporting the more than 3,000 Google employees who in April protested Google’s involvement with the Pentagon’s Project Maven. The Google employee’s message was clear: “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war.” Since then, even more Google employees have resigned due to the company’s involvement with the weapon’s industry.
Project Maven uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images. Google provides not only the open source deep learning technology, but also technical expertise and assistance to the US Defence Department. The project could provide the basis for automatic targeting and autonomous weapons systems.
PAX supports the scientists’ call. “The tech industry has to realise that cooperating with military projects can have far-reaching consequences, such as helping develop autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots,” says PAX’s Miriam Struyk. “These weapons are very controversial given all the legal, ethical and security concerns. Google’s standpoint here is significant, since tech companies can play a crucial role in preventing the development of autonomous weapons.”
With all the private information Google compiles comes the responsibility not only to use this information for their own purposes, but also to use it for a greater social good. Google’s motto is “Do the right thing.” PAX would like to see Google practice what it preaches.