Google employees resign to protest work for US military
Three months after the 2018 discovery that Google was working on Project Maven, a military pilot program intended to speed up analysis of drone footage by automating classification of images of people and objects, dozens of Google employees resigned in protest. Among their complaints: Google executives' decreasing transparency and attention to workers' objections; that Google's move could damage user trust; and ethical concerns over using algorithms in this potentially lethal work and Google's involvement in it. Nearly 4,000 Google employees signed an internal position asking Google to cancel the contract and adopt a policy barring it from future military work, but the company defended its work on Maven and is bidding on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. An additional factor for those resigning was Google's sponsorship of the Conservative Political Action Conference and diversity concerns.
Two weeks later, after meeting with employees, Google announced it would not seek another contract for Private Maven when the current one expires in 2019 because of the backlash. The company also said it would adopt new ethical principles for its future use of AI.
Writer: Kate Conger