Google Ends Bid for Huge Pentagon Contract Following Protests by Employees

Google drops out of Pentagon's $10-billion cloud computing competition

Google pulls out of competition for $10B Pentagon cloud contract

Top Pentagon officials have said the JEDI contract would account for about 16 percent of the department's overall cloud-computing work, subsuming numerous department's own cloud efforts. Amazon provides image recognition tech to the Defense Department, and Microsoft offers cloud services to military and defense agencies.

According to Reuters, the company's AI principles bar using the software for weapons or with services that could potentially violate accepted global standards on human rights and surveillance.

The contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), calls for the creation of a massive cloud-computing system that can enable new weapons capabilities and store classified data.

Google controls less than 10 percent of the market share around cloud infrastructure services, and a Pentagon contract would've definitely boosted its profile.

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"We couldn't be assured that it would be aligned with our artificial intelligence (AI) principles", Aileen Black, an executive director at Google, said of the JEDI contract.

Google has ended its bid for a Pentagon contract of $10 billion for a cloud computing project, it announced on Monday.

Shortly after the protest over Maven, Google said it would not renew the contract or pursue similar military contracts.

Google recently came up with a set of rules to help guide the company when figuring out which AI projects to work on and be involved with.

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The software company said Tuesday that it will earn the certification required to host the government's most sensitive and classified information - a distinction previously held only by Amazon Web Services - by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

The technology industry is innovating around next generation cloud at an unprecedented pace and JEDI virtually assures [the DoD] will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more. White laid out Microsoft's case in a almost 1,000-word prelude to the company's announcement of the new cloud certifications, leaning heavily on the "intelligent cloud and intelligent edge" mantra that has defined the Satya Nadella era of Microsoft. Whichever company wins could ultimately have little control over how the military uses its technology. It's being eyed by Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon, Bloomberg reports.

This follows Google's cessation of its role within the Pentagon's "Project Maven" AI drone system, which can identify people and areas of interest using drone footage, with Google's involvement triggering a backlash from the public as well as its own workers.

"Bids are due October 12". Google "should not be in the business of war", employees said in a petition that gathered more than 3,000 signatures.

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