Google’s decision not to renew a controversial artificial intelligence (AI) contract with the Pentagon has reignited a debate about what Silicon Valley’s role should be with regard to the military and war.
Google, facing internal pressure, told employees during a meeting on Friday that it would not renew its contract with the Defense Department’s flagship AI program, known as Project Maven, after it expires in 2019, according to multiple reports.
The contract sparked a public relations crisis after a handful of employees reportedly resigned in protest and thousands of employees signed a letter urging the company’s CEO not to allow Google to be drafted into the “business of war.”
Employees pointed to the company’s old “Don’t Be Evil” motto in pressuring Google to cut ties with the Pentagon.
Project Maven had recruited Google to help advance technology like surveillance drones, which are used to track the whereabouts of terrorist organizations and uncover devised plots before they unfold.