Gizmodo is reporting that Google is working with the US Department of Defense (DoD) on a project that will use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze drone footage. Project Maven, as the effort is known, was said to have been discussed on an internal company mailing list, and many Google developers were outraged that technology they had developed would be used by the military. The company says that its involvement with Maven is not related to combat, but that hasn't satisfied all the concerned employees.
A Google spokesperson told Gizmodo, "We have long worked with government agencies to provide technology solutions. This specific project is a pilot with the Department of Defense, to provide open source TensorFlow APIs that can assist in object recognition on unclassified data. The technology flags images for human review, and is for non-offensive uses only. Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively discussing this important topic internally and with others as we continue to develop policies and safeguards around the development and use of our machine learning technologies."
The mission of Project Maven is to “accelerate DoD’s integration of big data and machine learning.” According to The Wall Street Journal the DoD spent $7.4 billion on AI last year.