A dozen googlers quit over Google's military drone contract


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/15/drone-be-evil.html


#2

Just sounds like streamlining the process for when you search “How to make a bomb”


#3

I wouldn’t be surprised if the murderdrone project got spun off into its own company. It doesn’t seem like it needs to be under Google’s umbrella to get the job done.


#4

Corporate ethics are mostly a matter of black and red (not black and white).

People, on the other hand, People don’t compromise ethics they actually possess, out of a need to. If they ‘need’ to behave unethically, they’re not fiarly described as ethical, existentially.

People and especially corporations often prove to not have ethics they give themselves credit for, all the time.

Ethics are not aspirational, though they are something to aspire to consistently being in possession of.


#5

Sure, right now we have Alphabet and soon we will have Murderbet, Surebet, and the always popular Wannabet.


#6

“Actions speak louder than words, and that’s a standard I hold myself to as well,” another resigning employee told Gizmodo. “I wasn’t happy just voicing my concerns internally. The strongest possible statement I could take against this was to leave.”

I like the cut of this person’s jib


#7

Google’s “Project Maven” is supplying machine-learning tools to the Pentagon to support drone strikes; the project has been hugely divisive within Google, with employees pointing out that the company is wildly profitable and doesn’t need to compromise on its ethics to keep its doors open.

It would if Google’s ‘mahogany row’ denizens saw a serious downside to not playing nice-nice with the now Trumpian-Feds.


#8

Neat reference, although I’m trying to forget how things turned out.


#9

I can see even shareholders having something to say about this deal with the Pentagon. Even shareholders can have certain ethical standards they stand by.


#10

It was a general pirate reference, for whatever reason the quote came to mind and couldn’t tell you why. What particular reference are you speaking of? :smiley:


#11

‘Jeremiah Johnson’ film.


#12

Hm, haven’t seen it but reading the plot synopsis it seems pretty interesting. Might have to check this out.


#13

Don’t be evil.
Do the right thing.

Ok is there even a remote possibility that maybe the AI kills fewer children? Do the murder drones come with a child casualty slider?


#14

It’s absolutely excellent. A worthy contribution to the “man vs. nature” trend that ran in the 70s. Superb acting and direction. One of those “watched in DVD but now have to have it in Blu Ray” type of films. Enjoy!


#15

I’ve found out that i’m one of the few that loves this movie but have you ever seen the movie Ravenous?

Pardon the awful dated trailer.


#16

Just one thing: Google aiding and abetting the murder of innocent civilians by drone strikes is nothing new.

The well-known application Google Earth was originally developed by KeyHole, Inc. and marketed to the military and intelligence communities. The customers loved the video game-like interface and the ability to zoom in everywhere on Earth. The interface could be overlaid with information about military installations, operations, and … targets.

Google was, in other words, always a military contractor and never seemed to have any qualms about that. I also don’t seem to remember Google’s voice raised in protest against the 21st century’s so far greatest crime against humanity, the war on Iraq.

So this new development is wholly unsurprising. Kudos to the engineers who resign, but on the other hand they might have known before signing on. Google was based on original research done at Stanford Research Institute, a well-known military contractor and think tank and funded by the military and by the CIA’s VC fund whose name I forget. The cuddly “progressive” image Google has also nourished has always been a lie.


#17

I haven’t seen that one (although my tastes run toward the obscure half the time).

WIKI: Roger Ebert gave Ravenous a better review, rating it 3 stars out of 4 and stating that it was "the kind of movie where you savor the texture of the filmmaking, even when the story strays into shapeless gore.

Hm. I’ll try that one out. Thx!!


#18

Perhaps the question now: What did the resigning/resigned engineers know when they signed on and what were they ‘fed’?


#19

I seriously love the movie and think its criminally under appreciated. The main character and antagonist in the story i find compelling, and plotwise its nothing mindbending but i really appreciate that it deals with native American folkore (the wendigo).


#20

Well, I was invited to Dublin for a job interview with Google in 2011, and it seems they were very much feeding their “nice” external image internally as well.

It was a good experience, even if I didn’t get the job (for which I’m somewhat grateful today). The interview was like an all-day technical exam with three interviews before lunch and two after. They were very very focused on traditional computer science skills: Algorithmics, data structures, the ability to perform back-of-the-envelope calculations, etc.

I was impressed with the level and even used parts of their method for conducting job interviews in my own company, but with the extreme focus on geeky computer science stuff like algorithms and Linux kernel settings there was also very much the same kind of tech over ethics ethos which seems to have made (too) many people who should have known better justify taking money from ARPA back in the day (with honorable exceptions, when Donald Knuth was at SAIL he’d refused a grant from ARPA because of Vietnam).