Google will not seek to extend its contract next year with the Defense Department for artificial intelligence used to analyze drone video, squashing a controversial alliance that had raised alarms over the technological buildup between Silicon Valley and the military.
The tech giant will stop working on its piece of the military’s AI endeavor known as Project Maven when its 18-month contract expires in March, a person familiar with Google’s thinking told The Washington Post.
Diane Greene, the chief executive of Google’s cloud-computing business, told employees of the decision at an internal meeting Friday, first reported by Gizmodo.
Google, which declined to comment, has faced widespread public backlash and employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting. The person said Google will soon release new company principles related to the ethical uses of AI.
The move is a setback for the Pentagon's push to supercharge the military's capabilities with powerful AI that could help process battlefield data or pinpoint military targets. Audricia M. Harris, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement that it "would not be appropriate for us to comment on the relationship between a prime and sub-prime contractor holder."
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