Google Employees Protest Work For the Pentagon

rgMekanic

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The New York Times is reporting that thousands of Google employees, have signed a letter protesting Googles involvement with a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret videos and could improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter has been signed by more than 3,100 employees, including dozens of senior engineers.

You would think with a company slogan like "Don't be evil," helping make drone strikes more accurate to save civilian lives would be right up their alley? That's the best I can do while reminding myself this isn't the Soapbox. Thanks to cageymaru for the story.

The company subsequently described its work on Project Maven as "non-offensive" in nature, though the Pentagon’s video analysis is routinely used in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, and Defense Department publications make clear that the project supports those operations. Both Google and the Pentagon said the company’s products would not create an autonomous weapons system that could fire without a human operator, a much-debated possibility using artificial intelligence.
 
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dgz

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For all its faults, the Robocop reboot explored the reality where AI is actually better even than the cyborg. These things are too good. Last thing we need is anyone unleashing swarms of these things upon somebody else.
 

lcpiper

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The New York Times is reporting that thousands of Google employees, have signed a letter protesting Googles involvement with a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret videos and could improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter has been signed by more than 3,100 employees, including dozens of senior engineers.

You would think with a company slogan like "Don't be evil," helping make drone strikes more accurate to save civilian lives would be right up their alley? That's the best I can do while reminding myself this isn't the Soapbox. Thanks to cageymaru for the story.

The company subsequently described its work on Project Maven as "non-offensive" in nature, though the Pentagon’s video analysis is routinely used in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, and Defense Department publications make clear that the project supports those operations. Both Google and the Pentagon said the company’s products would not create an autonomous weapons system that could fire without a human operator, a much-debated possibility using artificial intelligence.


Typical, they'd rather the drones "miss" more, roll the dice, wipe out a few more wedding parties.

You'd think that if the Pentagon was going to kill someone with a missile, these numb nutz would want the missile to be as accurate as possible in order to minimize the risk to innocents.
 

Cipix

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Typical, they'd rather the drones "miss" more, roll the dice, wipe out a few more wedding parties.

You'd think that if the Pentagon was going to kill someone with a missile, these numb nutz would want the missile to be as accurate as possible in order to minimize the risk to innocents.
Or, like the article says, they don't like the idea of the company shifting towards "defense" work.
 

alamox

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drone strike are never accurate, they kill dozens for 1 target, drone strikes have over 90% colateral, the fact that they are still practically the only weapon US uses is an aberation, and all it does is fuel hate, that US citizens will pay with their lives, and now google employees get close to the top , i don't know if it was a good idea to make the letter public, unless the project itself was already made public, because i didn't know about it.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Or, like the article says, they don't like the idea of the company shifting towards "defense" work.

Google has always been in defense work. They'd have to go out of business to get out of defense, and further, if their technology is the best at what it does, then their employees are literally protesting for more collateral damage, more innocents hurt and killed.

What Google employees are ignoring is human nature.

drone strike are never accurate, they kill dozens for 1 target, drone strikes have over 90% colateral, the fact that they are still practically the only weapon US uses is an aberation, and all it does is fuel hate, that US citizens will pay with their lives, and now google employees get close to the top , i don't know if it was a good idea to make the letter public, unless the project itself was already made public, because i didn't know about it.

Drone strikes go where they're pointed. What isn't 100% accurate all of the time- and never will be- is information on the people, equipment, and facilities being struck.
 

Tekara

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Maybe if google wasn't built upon human trafficking, I mean selling user information, then I would actually not be so snide about this gesture. But heck, they could always move their HQ over to the Middle East or Africa and start giving the peace corps a run for their money if they're so against "defense" work.
 

seanreisk

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drone strike are never accurate, they kill dozens for 1 target, drone strikes have over 90% colateral, the fact that they are still practically the only weapon US uses is an aberation,

Replace 'drone strike' with 'warfare', and you've got an accurate picture. When insurgents hole up in a house there is never a way to tell if there are other people inside. You call an A-10 strike and you hope you don't find dead children. This isn't new to the 21st century - in World War II, civilian deaths from all causes were approximately double military deaths.

You might ask why we allow 'advancement by remote control', but the cold reality is that there aren't better solutions. If we decide that we won't use artillery, air strikes or heavy infantry weapons on hidden insurgents, our current military capabilities limit us to sending in infantry. From a 'fairness' standpoint this seems like a good idea, and a poll of civilians shows that non-military people favor this approach. From a military standpoint, though, it is a very bad idea, because you allow a smaller enemy to dictate the engagement. In most cases you will end up losing more of your own soldiers than you will kill. This is called 'losing'. This is also true for our enemies - any time that Al Qaeda or the Taliban have attacked an allied outpost, they have done so with superior numbers, because they know they will take high losses.

In the Revolutionary War, we Americans fought as terrorists. We did this because we were facing a superior foe with better training and better logistics. So we cheated. Now we are the superior foe, and most of our enemies have resorted to the kind of attacks that will deplete us while conserving their troops. This may sound silly, but in this environment it is important that we take advantage of our advantages. Drones allow us to monitor an area remotely without risk to American personnel. They are efficient, unobtrusive and cost-effective. They are also a better political solution, for both us and our hosts, than trying to forward-base American troops in areas where we might want to strike.

I don't like the idea of drones either. But I don't see a better solution, and if you have a problem that you don't have a solution to, you don't have a problem - you have a bad situation, and you adjust accordingly.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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I had a conversation with a foreign friend- never been to the US, never been involved with any military- that described our use of drones as 'terrorizing'. I have no doubt that their perspective is grounded in fact, and that the protesting Google employees also feel similarly.

But for US and allied troops on the ground, drones are warm and fuzzy. Hard to complain about HQ watching over your shoulder in unfriendly territory, ready to send 500lb care packages if you find trouble.
 

A Little Teapot

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Oh please. Google are in the business of a cultural war which is going to end up killing far more people than working for the Pentagon will. Fucking hypocrites.
 

Snowdensjacket

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Makes sense. Google is a part of the empire of the consulates and works for the state department in the "deep state". Right now the consulate of the bases, the Pentagon, is on the rise. Of course employees who thought they were working for the consulates are getting angry that they are now doing work for the bases.

*replace consulates with priest class and bases with warrior class for a historical perspective.

Personally I'm rooting for the warrior class this go around and a military dictatorship because our priests are fucking insane and demand we all proclaim and bear our testimony that men and women are the same, and everything is all exactly the same, or face punishment for crimes of heresy.
 

serpretetsky

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Working on weapons or military equipment is always a hard decision. To kill or support killing on behalf of your country without careful thought is no better than commiting war atrocities and saying "My superior told me to do it".

I think it's just as ridiculous to berate people that do not want to work on weapons as it is to berate soldiers shipping off to war. if you think it's an easy choice then you are doing something wrong.
 

Spaceninja

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Why don't they change their profile picture or virtue signal instead? These tards need to STFU and get back to work. The other option is to go find another job with a technology company that isn't in bed with the government to some degree. Good luck.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Why don't they change their profile picture or virtue signal instead? These tards need to STFU and get back to work. The other option is to go find another job with a technology company that isn't in bed with the government to some degree. Good luck.

They joined a company that was and is in bed with the government.

That's what makes this so retarded.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Working on weapons or military equipment is always a hard decision. To kill or support killing on behalf of your country without careful thought is no better than commiting war atrocities and saying "My superior told me to do it".

I think it's just as ridiculous to berate people that do not want to work on weapons as it is to berate soldiers shipping off to war. if you think it's an easy choice then you are doing something wrong.

See, here's the thing- they're not killing or supporting it, they're supporting decision makers. It's just silly. Some people have a problem making weapons, and I get that, even if it isn't rational. This isn't a weapon, and they're not making the decision to kill.
 

ZorinInc

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"Please, no gang signs. No, throw it up. I'm kidding. Yeah, peace. I love peace. I'd be out of a job for peace."
tumblr_inline_obkgrwVjqE1rw8iem_500.png
 

serpretetsky

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See, here's the thing- they're not killing or supporting it, they're supporting decision makers. ... .This isn't a weapon, and they're not making the decision to kill.
You have to draw your own line on what you consider a weapon and what you don't. Some will see this as supporting a weapon, some wont. You could say a rifle is also not a weapon, it's just a long barrel that supports the pressure for the bullet which does the actual killing. There is certainly a spectrum of "not weapon" to "weapon" (and I think you can have entire debates on this spectrum alone).

Supporting decision makers is not an automatic out. If you are part of a lethal machine, take some responsibility. I'm not saying it's wrong to build weapons, I'm saying I hope you have wrestled with some moral questions before you begin building what you recognize as a weapon or a subsystem of a weapon.

I just applied to work at UAV company thats gets contract work form the US navy. From what little i know about them, you can hardly call what they make "weapons" in any direct term. None the less, if they decide to give me an interview I'm gonna have some ethical questions to face.
 

funkydmunky

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I feel sad for all of those who can't see through all of this media devised BS!
Really sad.
 

aaronspink

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For all its faults, the Robocop reboot explored the reality where AI is actually better even than the cyborg. These things are too good. Last thing we need is anyone unleashing swarms of these things upon somebody else.

Eh? Current drones in use are rather primitive requiring manned remote operation throughout all phases of flight. The only 2 drones that had any real level of autonomy were the Boeing X-45 and the NG X-47 (which incidentally used the software originally developed for X-45).
 
D

Deleted member 204526

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The same Google which had a rendering of that vile murderous woman on their front page yesterday?
 

5150Joker

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Replace 'drone strike' with 'warfare', and you've got an accurate picture. When insurgents hole up in a house there is never a way to tell if there are other people inside. You call an A-10 strike and you hope you don't find dead children. This isn't new to the 21st century - in World War II, civilian deaths from all causes were approximately double military deaths.

You might ask why we allow 'advancement by remote control', but the cold reality is that there aren't better solutions. If we decide that we won't use artillery, air strikes or heavy infantry weapons on hidden insurgents, our current military capabilities limit us to sending in infantry. From a 'fairness' standpoint this seems like a good idea, and a poll of civilians shows that non-military people favor this approach. From a military standpoint, though, it is a very bad idea, because you allow a smaller enemy to dictate the engagement. In most cases you will end up losing more of your own soldiers than you will kill. This is called 'losing'. This is also true for our enemies - any time that Al Qaeda or the Taliban have attacked an allied outpost, they have done so with superior numbers, because they know they will take high losses.

In the Revolutionary War, we Americans fought as terrorists. We did this because we were facing a superior foe with better training and better logistics. So we cheated. Now we are the superior foe, and most of our enemies have resorted to the kind of attacks that will deplete us while conserving their troops. This may sound silly, but in this environment it is important that we take advantage of our advantages. Drones allow us to monitor an area remotely without risk to American personnel. They are efficient, unobtrusive and cost-effective. They are also a better political solution, for both us and our hosts, than trying to forward-base American troops in areas where we might want to strike.

I don't like the idea of drones either. But I don't see a better solution, and if you have a problem that you don't have a solution to, you don't have a problem - you have a bad situation, and you adjust accordingly.

The better solution is for the US to get the fuck out of the mideast and mind its own business. See, no drone strikes needed. Or are we still worried about the ISIS boogeyman?
 

velusip

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Dear Google. Please help improve drone strike computer vision.

Signed, Canadians.


(too soon?)
 

emphy

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...

You would think with a company slogan like "Don't be evil," helping make drone strikes more accurate to save civilian lives would be right up their alley? That's the best I can do while reminding myself this isn't the Soapbox. ...

Apart from the fact that these enable extra-judicial executions.

For a nation of, supposedly, people filled with justified scepticism of government power, you sure are free in allowing it free reign in killing people all over the world with no more guarantees than a simple "trust us, these are terrorists".
 
D

Deleted member 222586

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You really can't see a moral dilemma by working for the military? Some people do, which is what is happening at Google.

Unless those complaining signed up for a job that explicitly stated that they would be working in military-related projects they have the right to protest.
 

fuzzylogik

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I'm trying to remember - since Google does appreciate this type of open discussion from their employees... were there any complaints, petitions from Google employees when they had 400+ meetings at the WH from 2009-2015 (more than all the other major tech companies combined)? Seems like if you don't want to get involved with the government/military maaaaybe you shouldn't have an office there?
 

macksomerville

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I'm trying to remember - since Google does appreciate this type of open discussion from their employees... were there any complaints, petitions from Google employees when they had 400+ meetings at the WH from 2009-2015 (more than all the other major tech companies combined)? Seems like if you don't want to get involved with the government/military maaaaybe you shouldn't have an office there?

Umm it was okay when obummer expanded 10-fold the amount of drone strikes from Jr.... orange cheeto?... not so much ;)
 

c3k

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This reinforces my belief that Google is evil.

These people are retards. Literally. Their ability to comprehend, to analyze, and to rationally act is retarded. Perhaps, as they age and grow wiser, they will catch up?

Google lies. Google steals. Google is evil.

I would love to have all of their servers and backups impounded. Everything. All while a prosecutor sifts through their private emails and communications to see if they have illegally shared user data or profited from unsuspecting customers.

Google is "1984" in a corporate-run environment.

This why I don't use Chrome. This is why I don't use their search engine.
 

B00nie

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Don't be evil
be greedy
pave your way to hell with good intentions
or the hell with it, just admit they're bad
Be Google and Facebook
 

Jagger100

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Drone Strike are precise if you have good intel. If you don't have good intel, you're guessing no matter how close you can place it.

The high casualty rate for our strikes have come from poor intel. You kill a lot of innocent people if you have the wrong apartment or don't know who really is at a funeral. Allowing our intel assets to twist in the wind wasn't a good policy. We let the guy who gave us Osama go to jail in Pakistan. Not a lot of people volunteering to stick their necks out after that.
 
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