15:27 GMT +320 January 2020
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    US Marine Corps infantry officer First Lt. Walker D. Mills has written an open letter in Defense News, asking Google to renew cooperation with the Department of Defence months after the tech giant decided to end its involvement in the US military artificial intelligence programme, dubbed Project Maven.

    "Recent comments by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, about Google’s cooperation with the Chinese government on a censor-compliant version of the company’s search engine highlighted a sense of rejection in the defense community exacerbated by perceived hypocrisy. The company that Americans, and people all over the world associate with innovation and information technology had spurned the U.S. military, yet continues to work with one of our chief competitors", he said in his letter.

    According to Mills, he appreciated the call of Google employees to the company's CEO, Sundar Pichai, requiring an end to Project Maven, but stated that it was "impossible" for tech companies to stay above the fray in a complicated, interconnected world.

    "I know we are not a perfect partner, but please work with us. I don't ever want to have to explain to my Marines why our technological edge has eroded. Or that their lives are at greater risk defending our shared values because we have been abandoned by our tech sector", he stated.

    READ MORE: Google Has ‘No Plans' to Launch Censored Search Engine in China — CEO

    Google has reportedly been criticised for cooperating on Project Maven due to the Pentagon's use of drones for strikes abroad. The programme was estimated to cost between $9 million and $15 million.

    In June, Gizmodo reported that the high-tech company did not plan to renew its contract on Project Maven after its expiration in 2019. The reported decision followed a move by over 3,000 Google employees, who launched a petition asking Pichai to pull out of the project, as they believe that Google should not be involved in the business of war. The withdrawal also prompted criticism from US congressmen. The same month, Pichai set new strict ethical guidelines for the company that ban the use of AI technology in weapons.


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