San Francisco: After facing employee fury over a US Defence Department project, Google is reportedly drafting new ethical standards to guide the company’s use of technology and products. The move comes after more than 3,000 employees of Google signed a letter to the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that the company scrap the Defence Department project for analysing drone footage using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques as they feared that the technology could plausibly help target people for death, Fortune.com reported on Friday.
Citing a Defense One article, the report said that Google Cloud chief Diane Greene this week hosted a Town Hall at which she assured employees of new ethical standards for the company. Called Maven, the programme applies AI and machine learning to the job of classifying objects in surveillance footage, but Google responded to the employee petition saying that the technology was intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work. However, Greene promised employees that Google would not sign up for any further work on ‘Maven’ or similar projects without having new ethical principles in place, according to Defense One’s sources.
But some Google employees came out of the town hall still concerned about the company angling for a big Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract that could relate to combat operations, the Fortune report said.