Almost a dozen employees have resigned in protest over the project, reports Gizmodo. The controversial project is known as Project Maven and is run by the Defense Department. Maven aims to use machine learning to speed up the time it takes computers to analyze drone footage to identify people and objects. The employees are resigning due to the ethical concerns they have over Google’s expertise being used in military technology that could lead to the loss of human life.
The resignations follow a petition by over 4,000 Google employees asking the company to immediately cancel its Project Maven contract with the government and commit to a policy forbidding military work in the future. The petition reads, in part:
“We can no longer ignore our industry’s and our technologies’ harmful biases, large-scale breaches of trust, and lack of ethical safeguards. These are life and death stakes.”
Yet Google appeared unmoved by its employees’ concerns and has continued on with its Project Maven work, which lead to a handful of them resigning. As one of the resigning employees told Gizmodo:
“At some point, I realized I could not in good faith recommend anyone join Google, knowing what I knew. I realized if I can’t recommend people join here, then why am I still here?”