Google plans to discontinue a project through which it has been helping the US military use artificial intelligence to analyze drone footage. The contract, part of a Pentagon effort known as Project Maven, sparked a storm of internal unrest and media controversy over Google’s apparent role in weaponizing the use of AI.
Targets acquired: As first reported by Gizmodo, Google has been supplying technology and know-how to the US military for automating the analysis of drone footage. Defense is a huge potential market, but many Google employees were appalled that the company might be helping develop tech that could lead to automated drone strikes.
The war within: The head of Google’s cloud business, Diane Greene, reportedly told staff this week that the company would not seek a new contract after it expires. Previously leaked e-mails show that some AI experts within Google also objected to the program and anticipated the media fallout.
Booming business: This is far from the end of the story. Artificial intelligence will be a key asset in warfare going forward, and other big tech companies are pursuing military AI contracts. As Wired recently pointed out, Project Maven is poised to expand—with or without Google.
The US Navy wants swarms of thousands of small drones
Budget documents reveal plans for the Super Swarm project, a way to overwhelm defenses with vast numbers of drones attacking simultaneously.
A wrongfully terminated Chinese-American scientist was just awarded nearly $2 million in damages
"The settlement makes clear that when the government discriminates, it’s going to be held accountable," said Sherry Chen's lawyer.
Inside effective altruism, where the far future counts a lot more than the present
The giving philosophy, which has adopted a focus on the long term, is a conservative project, consolidating decision-making among a small set of technocrats.
The Chinese surveillance state proves that the idea of privacy is more “malleable” than you’d expect
The authors of "Surveillance State" discuss what the West misunderstands about Chinese state control and whether the invasive trajectory of surveillance tech can still be reversed.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.