Google, drone murder and the military-intelligence-censorship complex
19 May 2018
The publication of this week’s open letter by leading academics protesting Google’s role in the military’s drone assassination program exposes the close partnership between the major technology giants and the US military/intelligence complex.
The letter, now signed by nearly 1,000 academics, declares that “Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation, either domestically or internationally.” It adds, “While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.”
In March, Google admitted to helping the Pentagon develop artificial intelligence software to identify objects in video recordings captured by drones, within the framework of a program called Project Maven. While Google claims that the technology is not being used to kill people, the letter’s authors note that the system can be easily modified to identify human beings for assassination.
The letter by the academics follows an open letter from Google workers protesting the company’s involvement in Project Maven, supported by over 3,100 employees. A recent report by Gizmodo cited the resignation of a dozen workers following the revelations.
In considering the operations of Google, a distinction must be made between the corporation and the technology workers who are employed by it, many of whom may have been attracted to the company by its original (recently removed) corporate motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”
The involvement of Google in the US military’s drone program points to the extraordinarily dangerous amalgamation…