The use of artificial intelligence for military contracts that could lead to Google's advanced AI technology being used for surveillance or warfare stands as a powerful point of controversy within the company, and now it has come to light that higher-ups are working on a policy that would govern such behavior, as well as outright prohibit Google from knowingly working on any type of warfare technology or weaponry. Not much has been said about this policy thus far, suffice it to say that it's being worked on in relative secrecy for now, and will likely echo employees' concerns and Google's previously espoused ethical principles.
Reports of a policy in the works come alongside word of the involvement of Google Cloud Platform in the project, with one of its highest-ranking engineers, Dr. Fei-Fei Li, sending out an internal email explicitly stating that any public discussion of Project Maven, Google's contract with the Pentagon, is to avoid any direct mention of AI technology. According to her letter, the company could face a public relations disaster if popular media is in any way given the idea that Google is either making weaponized AI, or allowing such a development to happen using its technology. All the while, Google's internal communications are reportedly awash in just that sort of talk as discourse between supporters and opposers of Project Maven and similar ventures grows.
All of this revolves around Project Maven, a project being undertaken by the United States Department of Defense and the Pentagon, with help from a range of tech companies. The idea is to develop image processing software for footage captured by drones that would be able to identify objects and people in drone videos well enough to flag that content for human review if anything out of the ordinary or meeting certain criteria shows up. The implication here, of course, is that such technology could be used for automated drone warfare or mass surveillance. Many employees got together to send an open letter internally about the matter, and many resigned not long after. As a backdrop to all of this, the topic of AI on the battlefield is becoming an increasingly common and seemingly important one, with world leaders acknowledging that entities like NATO are not ready for powerful AI to get involved in matters of war.