Citing bad publicity and internal dissent, Google announces it won't renew contract to supply AI for US military drones

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Finally. Also Cory, I think you’re missing a bit in that opening sentence

My bet, Alphabet forms a new company with willing tech workers to accommodate the military’s murder machine.


Can you make an argument that helping the military better target, well, military targets is in fact a moral good?

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It sure beats all of the stories of “collateral damage” from bombing, missile and drone strikes we’ve been reading about for decades.

I - completely unwittingly, built circuit boards for an on-board missile guidance system when I worked for a defense contractor in the Midwest. Before then they had me building ruggedized communications equipment, and I didn’t find out what that last project was about until we had moved to another state,

Excuses. At one point, “Don’t be evil” should have been sufficient.


The inconvenient aspect is that the list of ‘military targets’ changes in part according to how well they can be targeted(and how cheaply).

If you pretty much have to saturation bomb the entire area, WWII style, the list of targets deserving enough is a lot shorter than if if you can just lob a cruise missile or two; and it gets longer still if, with a fair amount of analyst time, you can target down to individual vehicles or buildings.

One can only assume that the list would be longer still if you could automate the tedious analyst stuff that currently hurts throughput and forces you to focus on higher profile targets.

Our current “Yeah, we operate an effectively indefinite and open-ended targeted killing scheme in a laundry list of countries we aren’t even nominally at war with; this no no larger remarkable, yes?” situation, say, is pretty much only possible because fairly granular targeting is an option.

Better targeting doesn’t give you(at least not for long, it may take a little while for an organization to adjust) “same targets as last time, now with 30% less collateral damage!”. It gives you a new set of targets, many that would previously have been unviable.


“K” for Killbots, Inc.


Yes, you can make the same argument that the merchants of death have been cynically abusing from time immemorial.

It doesn’t matter how “smart” the bombs are. They’re still bombs.

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Our schools suck, our health care sucks, but we are amazing at murdering the hell out of other countries.


some naming ideas for their new spinoff:

  • Allevil
  • Purevil
  • Livevil
  • Wevil
  • Bevil
  • Doevil


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Only if you assume that they will use it to actually reduce civilian deaths. If they for example use the cost savings of fewer bombs per target to hit more wedding parties with double taps that take out first responders, then no you’ve increased the amount of human suffering. Beyond that the ability to more accurately identify a target only helps if you assume the target should be a target in the first place. It comes down to how much you trust the morality of the military now and in the future.

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