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Google is working on a military drone project with the Department of Defense about three months but as if they aren’t satisfied because Google resigning employees are leaving the company in protest. The project’s name is Maven, which aims to speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people, in which it is helping the Pentagon develop artificial intelligence for military drones.
And now, around a dozen Google employees are resigning in protest over the company’s continued involvement in Maven.
Many of Google resigning employees have written accounts of their decisions to leave the company, and their stories have been gathered and shared in an internal document. A number of Google employees had expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s involvement due to the ethical concerns related to helping the Pentagon with its controversial drone program.
Some workers say that the executives have become less transparent with their workforce about controversial business decisions and seem less interested in listening to workers’ objections than they once did. “In the case of Maven, Google is helping the Defense Department implement machine learning to classify images gathered by drones. But some employees believe humans, not algorithms, should be responsible for this sensitive and potentially lethal work—and that Google shouldn’t be involved in military work at all”, mentioned gizmodo.com.
“Over the last couple of months, I’ve been less and less impressed with the response and the way people’s concerns are being treated and listened to,” one employee who resigned said.
About 4,000 Google employees have voiced their opposition to Project Maven in an internal petition that asks Google to immediately cancel the contract and institute a policy against taking on future military work.
Still, the Google resigning employees believe that the work on Maven is basically at odds with the company’s do-gooder principles. “It’s not like Google is this little machine-learning startup that’s trying to find clients in different industries,” a resigning employee said. “It just seems like it makes sense for Google and Google’s reputation to stay out of that.”