Why so secret?
According to a report from the Washington Post, the hush-hush meeting was organized between few civilian and military leaders from the department of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. The defense project at the center stage is Project Maven according to the unknown sources. Pichai took the initiative to meet GOP lawmakers. The meeting was held to discuss various issues after recently being accused by President Donald Trump. Pichai was accused of being biased towards politically conservative thoughts.
The search engine giant witnessed its employees divided over Project Maven this year. The Project is concerned with the deployment of artificial intelligence for assisting the US Department of Defense. This is to analyze the Drone video footage. Opposing the decision of Google to work on the project, more than 4,000 Google employees signed a petition asking the managers to stop working on such projects. Employees took a resolution to never take such projects in the future as well.
No lethal projects going forward
Responding to the requests of the employees, Pichai announced the set of principles acting as a guideline for Google’s work with AI. Pichai has, however, made his stance clear on collaborating with the military on non-lethal projects. He stated that, “We want to be clear that while we are not developing AI for use in weapons”. He added that Google would continue to work with governments and the military in various other areas.
Pichai is facing one of the most crucial challenges of retaining the employees. And also, convincing them to work on the non-lethal, defense projects.
The search engine giant has also made it clear that they would not extend the DOD subcontracting deal after it expires in March. Google Cloud Platform hired Andrew Moore for the role of chief of Google Cloud AI.