GOOGLE HAS lost around a dozen employees (and rising) as a result of the company's decision to work with The Pentagon on a joint venture known as Project Maven.
Google's role has been to provide AI smarts to allow drone footage to be classified and tagged, thus making it easier to identify certain objects and people - some of whom would be, therefore, potential targets.
Exact reasons for leaving vary from the obvious ethical issues, both of drone warfare and the implementation of AI as part of it, through to the idea that Google's involvement is discrediting the company and that those people don't wish to be associated.
Some say that as a result of the Pentagon tie-up, the transparency of the company was being eroded, as secrets take the place of honest two-way talk. Certainly, it seems that push-back on the project is not going down too well either internally or with The Pentagon.
The use of drones is one of the US government's most open secrets and part of that is the knowledge of what role they play. Whilst unofficially, we know more than the government admits, Google is bound by what the public knows officially and so, therefore, there's likely to be a lot of discussions where people are prevented from discussing things that everyone knows - something that flies in the face of Google's obsession with transparency.
4,000 employees of Google have already signed a petition (probably made in Google Forms) which asks the company to immediately cancel the project and make a policy that would prevent the company from getting involved with the military ever again.
Google hasn't made a public comment on the matter to date and it's not helping matters on the whole transparency front.
On the plus side, maybe the drones will have Google Assistant so any collateral targets can should "OK Google, go the other way".
Google's Eric Schmidt has previously spoken out on the menace of unlicensed drones. µ
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