So much so that according to a report from Gizmodo, employees have been resigning en masse to protest the contract. The contract, for those wondering, is for a project known as Project Maven. This involves the development of AI for use in drones which is supposed to help speed up the analysis of drone footage by classifying images of objects and people.
The employees who are resigning are reportedly doing so for a few reasons, such as the ethics of using AI in drone warfare where some believe that such critical and lethal decisions should be made by humans, and not a computer. There are also some who are resigning over concerns about Google’s political decisions.
Google has defended their work and in a statement made last month, the company said, “The technology is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work. Any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts, as we continue to develop our policies around the development and use of our machine learning technologies.”
In addition to those who resigned, there are also nearly 4,000 employees who have signed an internal petition asking Google to immediately cancel their contract and institute a policy on future military work.
According to one resigning employee, “Actions speak louder than words, and that’s a standard I hold myself to as well. I wasn’t happy just voicing my concerns internally. The strongest possible statement I could take against this was to leave.”