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Google Won't Renew Pentagon AI Project After Employees Protest

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| June 2 , 2018 , 19:14 IST

After facing employees' anger over Google's involvement in an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered US Defence Department project, the tech giant has decided not to renew the current contract after it expires next year, the media reported.

During a weekly meeting with employees on Friday, Google Cloud chief Diane Greene said that the company was backing away from its AI work with the military, The New York Times reported on Friday citing a person familiar with the discussion.

Called 'Maven', the programme applies AI and Machine Learning to the job of classifying objects in surveillance footage.

The decision not to renew the contract comes after about 4,000 Google employees signed a petition demanding "a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology." 

While a handful of employees resigned in protest, some were openly advocating the company to cancel the Maven contract, the report said. 

Google earlier responded to the employee's petition saying that the technology was intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.

In April, Greene hosted a Town Hall meeting at which she assured employees of new ethical standards for the company, Fortune.com reported.

Greene promised employees that Google would not sign up for any further work on 'Maven' or similar projects without having new ethical principles in place, the Fortune report said citing a Defense One article.