Google executives advised employees final week in a companywide assembly that it is all for a Pentagon contract for cloud computing and that working for the navy wouldn’t essentially battle with principles created by the corporate for how its synthetic intelligence know-how could be used.
Google is pursuing the contract three years after an employee revolt pressured the corporate to desert work on a Pentagon program that used synthetic intelligence and to establish new guidelines in opposition to utilizing A.I. for weapons or surveillance.
The pursuit doubtlessly units up one other conflict between firm leaders and employees. Google’s cloud unit prioritized preparation for a bid on a Pentagon contract, The New York Times revealed this month, pulling engineers off different initiatives to deal with making a successful proposal.
The rush to pursue the contract is a dramatic shift for Google, which stated in 2018 that it wouldn’t bid on a significant cloud computing contract with the Defense Department, generally known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, as a result of the work would battle with its A.I. rules.
The JEDI cloud computing contract was estimated to be value $10 billion over 10 years, and was awarded to Microsoft in 2019. But dealing with legal challenges from Amazon, the Pentagon scrapped the contract in July and introduced a brand new plan to buy cloud computing know-how. The new model of the contract, generally known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, will break up the work between a number of firms.
The segmented nature of the contract permits Google to work on elements of the Pentagon cloud without violating its ban on weapons, Google executives advised employees within the videoconference assembly on Thursday, a recording of which was obtained by The Times.
The precise scope of the work remains to be unclear as a result of the federal government has not submitted a proper request for proposal. While it has not been invited to bid, Google has stated it is .
In a blog post revealed the identical day because the assembly, Thomas Kurian, who oversees the corporate’s cloud unit, wrote: “If we are invited to be part of the J.W.C.C. contract, we will absolutely bid.”
At the assembly, Mr. Kurian stated there are various areas the place Google’s capabilities and experience can be utilized “with no conflict to Google’s A.I. principles.”
“We have governance processes that provide guidance and oversight into what A.I. products we will offer and what custom A.I. projects we will and we will not pursue, and we will follow those governance processes,” he stated.
Mr. Kurian’s remarks, which had been reported earlier by CNBC, had been made in response to a query from an worker about Google’s curiosity within the Pentagon contract and The Times’s reporting on it.
“We understand that not every Googler will agree with this decision, but we believe Google Cloud should seek to serve the government where it is capable of doing so and where the work meets Google’s A.I. principles and our company’s values,” Mr. Kurian stated.
Google’s chief government, Sundar Pichai, echoed his remarks. “I think we are strongly committed to working with the government in a way that’s consistent with our A.I. principles,” Mr. Pichai stated.
A spokesman for Google declined to remark.