Google sits out $10 billion Pentagon cloud contest over AI principles

Sundar Pichai

Thousands of staff had already protested about working on a separate Department of Defense contract and against this backdrop has opted not to proceed further with the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud (Jedi).

The contract, known as Project Maven, is created to automate the analysis of surveillance footage collected by USA military drones, a task that has for years been handled directly by US airmen.

Google decided not to renew its involvement in Maven and this week backed away from the cloud computing contract, citing similar concerns about values.

"We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles", said a Google spokesman.

The unrest also prompted Google to release a set of guidelines about how it would use its AI technology going forward, ruling out most military applications. It also comes just months after Google employees protested en masse over the company's work with the United States military.

Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently took meetings in Washington to try to rebuild the company's relationship with the military amid all the employee unrest.

Taylor Swift sets new American Music Award record, urges people to vote
Jim Cooper running in their Senate and House races respectively. "Every award was voted on by the people", Swift said of the AMAs. She also condemned Republican senatorial candidate Marsha Blackburn for her voting record on women's rights and equal marriage.

The spokesman added that Google is "working to support the USA government with our cloud in many ways".

Amazon Web Services is now the only company to have achieved an IL-6 security authorization, besting other competitors including Microsoft, Oracle and International Business Machines.

Several big tech companies are currently in a race to win the Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI cloud contract, and after Google pulled out from the fight yesterday, Microsoft is now touting an upcoming expansion of its Azure Government Secret cloud service (via Reuters).

The long and costly process to gain authorization to sell cloud services to federal agencies can give technology companies a boost when they compete for government contracts.

Bloomberg added that a Google spokesperson said, had an effort by a number of companies including Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp., and Oracle Corp.to split the contract into pieces succeeded, the company could have "submitted a compelling solution for portions of it".

Top Pentagon officials have said the JEDI contract would account for about 16 percent of the Department's overall cloud computing work, subsuming numerous Defense Department's existing cloud efforts. "You may see a place to recharge your Fitbit but nothing to indicate the sort of patriotic identity that the rest of the defense contractors have".

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