Following outcry from thousands of employees and the resignations of several over its work on drone and artificial intelligence (AI) technology with the U.S. military, Google announced Friday that it would not renew its contract on the Pentagon program known as Project Maven.
Wow. Kudos to all the Google employees who forced the company's hand on this. Google will not renew its contract with the Pentagon on its AI drone program. https://t.co/hR4eXxya7B
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) June 1, 2018
The project was meant to assist the Defense Department in analyzing drone footage in order to develop new kinds of drone technology.
The company's contract with the military will not be renewed after it runs out in 2019, said Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene at a meeting with employees. Google also plans to unveil new guidelines for its use of AI next week.
In a letter to executives, about 4,000 Google employees condemned the company in March for its participation in the project, writing, "Google should not be in the business of war...We cannot outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties."
While the backlash from employees appears to have cooled the company's relationship with the Pentagon, The Intercept's Lee Fang reports that Google "has not committed to forego signing other military contracts dealing with artificial intelligence, according to multiple people with knowledge of the decision."