Google staff protest against company’s work with Pentagon drone programme

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV - AUGUST 08: An MQ-9 Reaper takes off August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first 'hunter-killer' unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly for up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can

Hundreds of employees at Google are protesting in opposition to the corporate’s work with the Pentagon’s surveillance drones programme.

Known as Undertaking Maven, the programme makes use of Google know-how to automate the evaluation of objects within the huge quantity of photographs which might be captured by the Division of Protection’s unmanned aerial automobiles (UAVs).

Greater than three,100 employees signatures have been connected to a letter addressed to chief govt Sundar Pichai which is circulating inside Google with a request that the corporate pull out of the undertaking.

In accordance with a replica of the letter revealed by The New York Instances, the letter states: “We imagine that Google shouldn’t be within the enterprise of conflict.

“Due to this fact we ask that Undertaking Maven be cancelled, and that Google draft, publicise and implement a transparent coverage stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever construct warfare know-how.”

There have been virtually 30,000 coalition strikes in opposition to targets in Iraq and Syria for the reason that US-led intervention in 2014, the intelligence behind lots of which is developed by evaluation of UAV surveillance footage.


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The letter was circulated after Google confirmed that its open-source machine studying software program TensorFlow was being utilized by the Pentagon for a pilot undertaking, in response to a report by Gizmodo.

Google mentioned it had “lengthy labored with authorities companies to supply know-how options”.

A spokesperson added: “The know-how flags photographs for human assessment, and is for non-offensive makes use of solely. Army use of machine studying naturally raises legitimate considerations.

“We’re actively discussing this necessary subject internally and with others as we proceed to develop insurance policies and safeguards across the growth and use of our machine studying applied sciences.”

The open-source TensorFlow software program is extensively utilized in machine studying purposes which try to permit computer systems to be taught easy methods to establish objects in video footage.

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV - AUGUST 08: A pilot's heads up display in a ground control station shows a truck from the view of a camera on an MQ-9 Reaper during a training mission August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first 'hunter-killer' unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and is designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-
Picture:
A pilot’s show reveals a truck from the view of drone

The algorithm identifies vehicles and timber and is designed to help the restricted variety of human analysts detecting threatening objects in an more and more unmanageable quantity of footage.

Google is considered one of many firms engaged on the undertaking, the spokesperson mentioned, including that the algorithms weren’t designed or used for face detection.

The Division of Protection mentioned that Undertaking Maven was initially specializing in figuring out 38 lessons of objects which have been necessary for its analysts to detect because the coalition continues to focus on Islamic State forces.

The undertaking’s head, Marine Corp Colonel Drew Cukor, advised an viewers of army and know-how consultants that the defence sector wanted to embrace synthetic intelligence applied sciences resembling machine studying, in accordance with Gizmodo.

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