Tech giant Google is currently doing work for the Pentagon under the controversial Project Maven, but it seems that will be coming to an end once the contract is up. According to some anonymous insiders and internal emails obtained by Gizmodo, Google Cloud head Diane Greene announced that the company would be backing off the project in the shortest order possible, mainly due to the sharp and unexpected backlash that it garnered. internal emails also revealed that Google had been hard at work developing entirely new technology just for Project Maven, and had met with officials like US Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan to discuss that technology.
Project Maven's cancellation comes as Google works to secure other government contracts in the same vein, according to Gizmodo, and was to be a stepping stone to obtain security and data clearance for future work. The report also alleged that Google is competing with other cloud computing firms for a $10 billion Pentagon contract, a bid that, if true, may be severely hampered by the company pulling out of Maven. While Project Maven was originally painted as a small $9 million contract to employees and outsiders, internal sources point to the initial cost being $15 million, and the project's total future budget having an upper limit well into the hundreds of millions. Another internal email obtained by Gizmodo said that Maven had the original purpose of helping the Pentagon to root out "violent extremist activities and human right abuses", among other problems.
Project Maven has been a huge controversy from the start for Google. The company first saw a number of employees get together to voice their disapproval in the form of an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, followed by dozens of Googlers making their refusal to work on the project known by simply resigning. Google is currently working on a code of ethics for how it will use AI technology, not to mention how it will allow its technological advancements in the field to be used by others. Many Googlers have called for the company to never allow its AI products to be featured in weapons technology, and there were fears that Maven was going to become exactly that sort of scenario.