June 7th, 2018
Earlier today Google released a set of AI principles designed to provide clarity about the use of Google AI technology. As part of that, we announced that Google, including Google Cloud, will not support the use of AI for weaponized systems. We have been working closely with our leading AI researchers to guide these principles. We hope that our customers and partners can understand and respect this decision.
While this means that we will not pursue certain types of government contracts, we want to assure our customers and partners that we are still doing everything we can within these guidelines to support our government, the military, and our veterans. For example, we will continue to work with government organizations on cybersecurity, productivity tools, healthcare, and other forms of cloud initiatives.
There has been the public focus on a limited contract we entered into in September 2017 that fell under the U.S. Department of Defense’s Maven initiative. This contract involved drone video footage and low-res object identification using AI, saving lives was the overarching intent.
Some of Google Cloud’s initiatives around AI are relatively new and since AI is a disruptive technology that allows for unprecedented uses, at the start of considering the contract, we saw the need for a set of principles that clarified how our cloud and our AI could be used. We do believe that the uses of our cloud and AI will prove to be overwhelmingly positive for the world and we also recognize that we can not control all downstream uses of our technology.
There have been calls for Google to cancel the September 2017 contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. I would like to be unequivocal that Google Cloud honors its contracts. We will not be pursuing follow-on contracts for the Maven project and because of that, we are now working with our customer to responsibly fulfill our obligations in a way that works long-term for them and is also consistent with our AI principles.
Google Cloud is bringing tremendous value to organizations and enterprises worldwide. Our extraordinary engineers and researchers are excited to see the increasingly broad and positive impact of our differentiated infrastructure, data analytics and AI, security, and G Suite. Google Cloud’s commitments to our customers and partners, including all of the government, are critically important to creating this value and we hope that our increased clarity will help us to continue with excellence.