SAN FRANCISCO — Google, hoping to head off a rebellion by employees upset that the technology they were working on could be used for lethal purposes, will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work when a current deal expires next year.
Diane Greene, who is the head of the Google Cloud business that won a contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, said during a weekly meeting with employees on Friday that the company was backing away from its A.I. work with the military, according to a person familiar with the discussion but not permitted to speak publicly about it.
Google’s work with the Defense Department on the Maven program, which uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes, roiled the internet giant’s work force. Many of the company’s top A.I. researchers, in particular, worried that the contract was the first step toward using the nascent technology in advanced weapons.
But it is not unusual for Silicon Valley’s big companies to have deep military ties. And the internal dissent over Maven stands in contrast to Google’s biggest competitors for selling cloud-computing services — Amazon.com and Microsoft — which have aggressively pursued Pentagon contracts without pushback from their employees.
AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not
RYAN NAKASHIMA Aug. 13, 2018
Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.
An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.
Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.
For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a “timeline” that maps out your daily movements.
“The Search Engine Is The Most Powerful Source Of Mind Control Ever Invented…”
Asher Schechter via ProMarket.org,
Google CEO Sundar Pichai caused a worldwide sensation earlier this week when he unveiled Duplex, an AI-driven digital assistant able to mimic human speech patterns (complete with vocal tics) to such a convincing degree that it managed to have real conversations with ordinary people without them realizing they were actually talking to a robot.
While Google presented Duplex as an exciting technological breakthrough, others saw something else: a system able to deceive people into believing they were talking to a human being, an ethical red flag (and a surefire way to get to robocall hell). Following the backlash, Google announced on Thursday that the new service will be designed “with disclosure built-in.” Nevertheless, the episode created the impression that ethical concerns were an “after-the-fact consideration” for Google, despite the fierce public scrutiny it and other tech giants faced over the past two months. “Silicon Valley is ethically lost, rudderless and has not learned a thing,” tweeted Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a prominent critic of tech firms.
The controversial demonstration was not the only sign that the global outrage has yet to inspire the profound rethinking critics hoped it would bring to Silicon Valley firms. In Pichai’s speech at Google’s annual I/O developer conference, the ethical concerns regarding the company’s data mining, business model, and political influence were briefly addressed with a general, laconic statement: “The path ahead needs to be navigated carefully and deliberately and we feel a deep sense of responsibility to get this right.”