Google's head of AI takes job at Apple


Diane Greene, the head of Google's cloud operation had already described its work on Project Maven as "non-offensive", however, employees made a decision to escalate things by addressing a formal letter to the CEO. It also wants the company to "draft, publicize and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology".

The letter comes after some staff raised concerns about Google's involvement in Project Maven at a recent company-wide meeting.

According to people family with the matter, Google engineers were outraged that the technology they have been working on will be used in warfare.

In a response published today by the New York Times, Google said it was natural that employees were concerned, stating that it was "hugely important and beneficial" that employees wanted to discuss Google's involvement with matters of defense. Pentagon's Project Maven was announced past year. And few companies are as good at algorithms as Google. Word of Project Maven first started to circulate last month and its mission is to create AI that uses computer vision technology to identify objects and faces in digital imagery. At the time, the reaction to the news proved divisive, with some employees at Google apparently "outraged" at the project.

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Amid growing fears of biased and weaponised AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public's trust.

The company has also recruited other high-profile AI experts recently, and appears to be making a major push to compete with Google and Amazon on a more level AI playing field. Employees reminded Google that it has a "unique history" and that one of its parent company Alphabet's mottos was "Don't Be Evil".

"An important part of our culture is having employees who are activelyengaged in the work that we do", the statement read.

A spokesperson added: "The technology flags images for human review, and is for non-offensive uses only". The models are said to be based on only unclassified data. Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. Dean is now head of the Google Brain, the company's research unit on AI and machine learning, and a well-known expert in the field itself.

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