A Peace Movement Blooms at Google | Alternet
Three-thousand Google employees have signed a letter protesting the internet giant’s contract with the Defense Department to develop artificial intelligence in order to analyze imagery collected by drones.
The employees are calling on Google CEO Sundar Pichai to cancel the project immediately and to “enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”
Google is collaborating with the Pentagton’s Project Maven, which was established in April 2017 “to deploy computer algorithms to war zones by year’s end, “according to one Defense Department press release. The focus of the project is “38 classes of objects that represent the kinds of things the department needs to detect, especially in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”
The protest is a signal moment in the global campaign against lethal autonomous weapons, otherwise known as killer robots. The increasingly plausible of specter of warfare in which machines automatically target and kill people without human control has given rise to an international movement to ban such weapons. The Google antiwar letter shows the movement has arrived in Silicon Valley.
Since 2014, the nations that have signed the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) have convened biannual conferences of experts to study the issue. Academics, policymakers and activists have found widespread agreement on the importance of controlling autonomous weapons, yet failed to reach consensus on how to do it.