Google is, for the most part, a generally well-liked company, and they don’t tend to dabble in anything significantly controversial. They make free services, like Gmail and YouTube, then serve up ads to stay afloat, and aside from the minor privacy quirks here and there, they do pretty well in the court of public opinion. Most of the time, anyway.
That’s why it was pretty strange to learn that Google was working with the United States Department of Defense on Project Maven, a military project that uses machine learning and AI to help autonomously classify images and data gathered by drones. It’s a project that some experts think could help quicken the development of fully autonomous military weapons, and many employees at Google aren’t pleased with that.
After it became known that Google was involved in Project Maven, many upper-level Google employees attempted to justify the project by reiterating that Project Maven isn’t designed as a military weapon, per se, but just as a means to sift through and organize information. While technically true, that’s still a very big potential conflict for a global company helping a single nation’s military.
That justification didn’t go over well with many employees, either. There have been a few protests and petitions to get Google to step out of the program, but now things have escalated even further with roughly a dozen employees quitting Google completely over Project Maven.
It’s usually pretty rare for a popular company to try and wade into incredibly conflicting, controversial situations with militaries around the world, and this is usually why. Good luck, Google.