The military project in question is Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), which allows the US Department of Defense (DoD) to use Google technology for military purposes.
Employees worried about Google pursuing a new military contract
According to CNBC, CEO Sundar Pichai and Thomas Kurian (head of Google’s cloud division) asserted that JWCC has no connection with the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project of the Pentagon. project that Google withdrew from to give the “playing field” to Amazon and Microsoft.
In 2018, thousands of employees protested Google’s contract extension for the Pentagon’s Project Maven program. This program aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze videos recorded by drones, which could help drones develop the ability to recognize human targets during attacks. military. At that time, Google took the employee’s opinion and refused to renew the contract, then set out a code of ethics for AI.
Thomas Kurian is the director of cloud services at Google
That is the reason why Google had to stop pursuing the JEDI 10 billion USD contract, fearing that the goal of the project would go against the AI code of ethics that the company has set.
During the meeting, employees questioned why Google continued to pursue JWCC after pulling out of the JEDI contract bidding process.
Thomas Kurian thinks there are still many areas where Google can work with the US Department of Defense without violating AI ethics. Google has also worked with the US government in many ways, such as supporting the work of the weather agency, working with the military to detect cancer, helping the Air Force maintain aircraft. The cloud division will be “proud to help DoD modernize technology,” he said.
However, the Alphabet Workers Union did not accept the management’s explanation and responded on Twitter: “Google, we will not modernize war”.