Google executives instructed workers final week in a companywide assembly that it’s fascinated about a Pentagon contract for cloud computing and that working for the army wouldn’t essentially battle with principles created by the corporate for the way its synthetic intelligence expertise 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 probably units up one other conflict between firm leaders and workers. Google’s cloud unit prioritized preparation for a bid on a Pentagon contract, The New York Times revealed this month, pulling engineers off different tasks to deal with making a profitable proposal.
The push to pursue the contract is a dramatic shift for Google, which mentioned in 2018 that it will not bid on a serious cloud computing contract with the Protection Division, generally known as the Joint Enterprise Protection 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 price $10 billion over 10 years, and was awarded to Microsoft in 2019. However dealing with legal challenges from Amazon, the Pentagon scrapped the contract in July and introduced a brand new plan to buy cloud computing expertise. The brand new model of the contract, generally known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Functionality, will cut up the work between a number of corporations.
The segmented nature of the contract permits Google to work on elements of the Pentagon cloud with out violating its ban on weapons, Google executives instructed workers within the videoconference assembly on Thursday, a recording of which was obtained by The Occasions.
The precise scope of the work continues to be unclear as a result of the federal government has not submitted a proper request for proposal. Whereas it has not been invited to bid, Google has mentioned it’s .
In a blog post revealed the identical day because the assembly, Thomas Kurian, who oversees the corporate’s cloud unit, wrote: “If we’re invited to be a part of the J.W.C.C. contract, we are going to completely bid.”
On the assembly, Mr. Kurian mentioned there are numerous areas the place Google’s capabilities and experience could be utilized “with no battle to Google’s A.I. rules.”
“We’ve governance processes that present steerage and oversight into what A.I. merchandise we are going to supply and what customized A.I. tasks we are going to and we is not going to pursue, and we are going to comply with these governance processes,” he mentioned.
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 Occasions’s reporting on it.
“We perceive that not each Googler will agree with this choice, however we consider Google Cloud ought to search to serve the federal government the place it’s able to doing so and the place the work meets Google’s A.I. rules and our firm’s values,” Mr. Kurian mentioned.
Google’s chief govt, Sundar Pichai, echoed his remarks. “I feel we’re strongly dedicated to working with the federal government in a approach that’s in keeping with our A.I. rules,” Mr. Pichai mentioned.
A spokesman for Google declined to remark.