Google to End Drone Image Analysis Deal
Google will not renew its existing contract with the US military for Project Maven, where the company was assisting its client to analyse aerial drone imagery. The company, part of Alphabet Inc., has stated that it will not renew its contract to continue providing services of this nature. This decision came after much furore at the company where hundreds of employees openly criticized the move by the company.
Approximately 700 Google employees had formed an online group that was labelled Maven Conscientious Objectors, making it a platform to discuss how they would go about making their displeasure heard, while still other employees planned to march publicly in San Francisco at the same time as a Google conference scheduled to take place in the city. However, the company has since made moves to assure its employees that it too was concerned about having its latest service offerings be viewed in a negative light purely by association to the US Military and its activities around the world. The current consensus on the use of military drones is an issue that has global significance, with many countries around the world taking precautions to restrict the launch and deployment of even civilian drones.
Google is said to have displayed to the US military its growing and innovative capabilities in the world of Artificial Intelligence, a couple of years ago. This move was possibly construed as a wooing of a powerful business partner in the long-term. However, the company has since admitted that it should have been better prepared for forays into new territory. To this end, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said that a comprehensive list of internal guidelines regarding how the company will approach and work on future military contracts was soon to be released.