Google has withdrawn from another competition for a multibillion-dollar Defense Department cloud computing contract. The company made the move in part because there was some concern that the governments use of the information would not be in line with its ethical use principles for Artificial Intelligence.
A spokesperson for the company said, “We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn’t be assured that it would align with our AI Principles, and second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications.”
The project; called the JEDI (the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure), involves creating and maintaining cloud computing systems that manage massive amounts of government (mostly Pentagon) data and the processing power to analyze it.
The decision to drop out of the $10 Billion bidding contest comes shortly after a mass employee protest over Google’s involvement in the government drone project known as Project Maven that saw some employees leaving the company. Many believed that the US government was weaponizing the technology in unethical ways.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also composed and released a set of ethical guidelines for Google and it’s partners to follow as they develop more advanced artificial intelligence (the entire memo is available here). Among the guidelines “we are not developing AI for use in weapons.” the company also says it won’t end it’s work on Maven