Tech and the Military

What fuels the U.S. military today isn’t hardware, but software. And it’s not just the kind of software you use on your home computer or your video games.

Today’s military arms race involves artificial intelligence and machine learning. And the U.S. companies leading that effort are the big tech companies: Alphabet, Google, Facebook and others.

The U.S. military has gone to these companies for one reason – so our warfighters have an edge against an adversary.

It was almost inevitable that challenges would come up from this uneasy marriage – and now they have.

Here is how a recent article, “A Google Military Project Fuels Internal Dissent,” begins, and this may just be the tip of iceberg:

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.

The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.

“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.”

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