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    Google Seeks Closer Cooperation with DoD Despite Departure from Pentagon-Funded AI Project

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    Military & Intelligence
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    Google halted its involvement in a Pentagon venture dubbed Project Maven in March after more than 3,000 of the tech giant's employees signed a petition to leave the group. The project, aimed to employ artificial intelligence to analyse reconnaissance footage taken by drones, has been criticised over the Pentagon's use of drones for strikes abroad.

    Google is looking for enhanced cooperation with the Pentagon's AI centre on a wide array of projects, the tech giant's Vice President Kent Walker said on Tuesday at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference.

    According to Walker, the enterprise is willing to "press the reset button" and actively engage with the Department of Defence on artificial intelligence in spite of the withdrawal from the military's Project Maven earlier this year.

    The vice president, however, refused to reveal whether Google is contemplating renewing its involvement in the partnership, adding that the company's decision concerned only the contract itself, rather than overall cooperation with the US military.

    Kent Walker, Senior Vice President Of Global Affairs, Google, speaks onstage during the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 24, 2019 in New York City.
    © AFP 2019 / Riccardo Savi
    Kent Walker, Senior Vice President Of Global Affairs, Google, speaks onstage during the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 24, 2019 in New York City.

    At the same time, Walker confirmed that Google is not seeking joint projects with the Pentagon on developing weapons systems citing the limits of the company's experience in that area and undesirable consequences this cooperation may possibly entail.

    Google first announced it did not intend to renew its contract on Project Maven with the Pentagon in June 2018. The decision followed a move by over 3,000 Google employees, who launched a petition asking Google's CEO Sundar Pichai to pull out of the project, because they believe that Google should not be involved in the business of war.

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    United States, Department of Defence, artificial intelligence, Pentagon, Google
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