Google drops Pentagon project: a turning point between big tech and the military?

Google is reported to have pulled out of a military project called Maven with the Pentagon after an outcry from employees (New York Times). The aim was to create advanced abilities for identification via drones (BBC).

Elsewhere this year, big tech has been criticized for its relationship with the defense industry. In April, AI experts boycotted a South Korean university for its partnership with a leading defense company. In May, civil rights groups criticized Amazon for working with the police to provide facial recognition technology.

Are we witnessing a weakening of the relationship between tech development and the military? If so, what’s changed this time around?

What are the cultural shifts that are making it harder for tech companies to be involved in this?

The weapons of war may be changing, but perhaps so is the power dynamic between tech giants and their employees.

What are the key issues here? Is there really change afoot?

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Interviews requested so far

  • The Tech Worker’s Coalition, a group that started a petition to stop technology being in the business of war.
  • David Galbreath, professor of international security at the University of Bath, England, and director of its Centre for War and Technology.

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