Protest among Google employees after US company accepted involvement in a project with military applications

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Designed by Project Maven, the US Department of Defense's initiative aims at developing AI technologies for visual processing of military-droned images

Responding to the surprise announcement, more than 3100 Google employees have signed a petition requesting Google CEO Sundar Pichai to reconsider the company's involvement in this project. "Google should not be in the war industry," said the US company's employees.

Started in April last year, Project Maven uses the TensorFlow software developed to analyze and catalog images from Google Photos albums based on their content. According to Google representatives, the contribution made to Project Maven is non-offensive in the sense that the technology will not serve the "operation or control of the drones" and "will not use the launching of weapons". In this case, the technologies developed by Google would use to highlight the items of interest in the images and send them for further analysis using qualified staff

However, there are fears that the association between Google and entities involved in the development of military-applied technology is likely to damage the company's image, after many years of Google's firm rejection of any possibility of association with the weapons industry. For example, in 2013, Google refused the funding offer received from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which came from the acquisition of several robotics companies with links to military research organizations

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