AI for Good
Alan L. Johnson
There has been a lot of bad press around AI due to threats of militarization and after Google got caught working with the United States Department of Defense on project Maven, there has been a drain of talent from their HQ. Project Maven is a program to help analyze drone imagery for the U.S. Military. It was however announced earlier this year that Google would not renew its contract.
Google Plans Not to Renew Its Contract for Project Maven, a Controversial Pentagon Drone AI Imaging Program
Google will not seek another contract for its controversial work providing artificial intelligence to the U.S. Department of Defense for analyzing drone footage after its current contract expires.
Just recently Google came out with a competition to help incentivize the development of AI for Good. According to Gizmodo:
> Google has pledged to give away $25 million in grants for humanitarian AI projects that help with matters like hindering human trafficking, health care, disaster relief, and environmental conservation. The contest, AI Impact Challenge, is soliciting applications from non-profits institutions and social-mission-driven for-profit companies until January 22.
On the surface it seems that Google is trying to make up for its cultural schism. In fact, Google has put out guidance on its use of AI for Good. Google is now making sure that AI is used for non military use or surveillance.
Google Backtracks, Says Its AI Will Not Be Used for Weapons or Surveillance
Google is committing to not using artificial intelligence for weapons or surveillance after employees protested the company’s involvement in Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program that uses artificial intelligence to analyze drone footage. However, Google says it will continue to work with the United States military on cybersecurity, search and rescue, and other non-offensive projects.
Although Google has made a commitment to not working on these particular types of projects, employees have expressed concern that this does not explicitly prevent Google from another contract similar to Maven in the future. After a series of actions that has caused negative PR for Google and greatly reduced morale among their employees, this new competition may counteract the negative effects. Either way, it will be interesting to see what AI is built through the Google competition.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. What did you think when you learned of Google working with the U.S. Military?
Q2. What AI would you build if you could?
Q3. Is there an application of AI that you would like to see in the world?