The U.S. military has apparently been planning to make use of Google’s AI systems for carrying out its defense operations for one of its drone missions. The move has created shockwaves within Google and across the tech cosmos, leading to increasingly controversial debates.
Incidentally, Project Maven of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is using Google’s TensorFlow AI tool to study the video footage captured by the U.S. drones. The tool is also being used for the detection of the objects of interest for review. For the record, last year, the U.S. DoD spent nearly USD 7.4 billion on AI & data processing activities with Project Maven being one of the key programs that received much of this investment. It has also been revealed that the Project is using AI technology against the Islamic State.
One of Google’s top executives has stated that Project Maven is a pilot program of the U.S. Department of Defense and uses Google’s open source TensorFlow Application Programming Interfaces, which can help the defense personnel in recognizing objects based on uncategorized information. He further added that the technology detects the images of the objects for human review and can be used solely for non-offensive purposes. While the search engine giant has worked with many of the U.S. government agencies in the past and uninhibitedly provided its technology, its decision to support Project Maven has caused a quite a stir in the firm.
According to Google, the application of machine learning tools for defense purposes is naturally a subject of immense concern. The company has further proclaimed that it believes in developing policies & safeguards pertaining to the development of its machine learning systems.
Incidentally, Google has a varied record regarding its tie-ups with the defense sector. During the purchase of robotics firm Shaft, it pulled the firm’s systems from a Pentagon competition. The company had also cut the defense-related contracts post its buyout of Skybox, the satellite startup.