The JEDI project involves transitioning massive amounts of U.S. military data to a commercially operated cloud.
Google drew up a new policy on artificial intelligence this year, following staff complaints about its work with the United States government on use of AI in weapons systems. Google also has bid for one of the Pentagon’s most lucrative cloud-computing contracts. Certain requirements in the RFP either mirror one vendor’s internal processes or unnecessarily mandate that certain capabilities be in place by the bid submission deadline versus when the work would actually begin. The programme is developing AI to analyse drone footage for possible targets, which some see as weaponising the technology.
In a statement, Google said they “couldn’t be assured that [the deal] would align with [their] AI Principles”. Earlier this year, Google said it would not renew the AI contract with the defense department.
Specifically Google has concerns around the potential uses of Artificial Intelligence as part of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.
This is not the first time Google has stepped back from a military contract as a result of company values.
IBM has officially griped to a top USA government watchdog about JEDI – the Pentagon’s proposed 10-year $10bn single-vendor IT system for America’s Green Machine.
The tech giant has made the of the the Pentagon’s competition for a possible $10 billion cloud-computing project. But IBM took that criticism a step further in arguing that the single-award approach would conflict with the White House’s “Cloud Smart” strategy, which emphasizes leveraging the best approaches from government and commercial industry. Company executives were concerned that the technology would be used for warfare.
“We will continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirement”, Google said.
Even if Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft doesn’t win the JEDI contract, earning the IL-6 authorization next year will give the company an advantage as it competes for other government business. Another debate is floating the market that though Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google has been asked not to disclose this information the same was done. Amazon is considered as the lead contender, as it has set up the private cloud of the Central Intelligence Agency, but companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and even IBM are as well anticipated to be in the race. “Finally, we are bringing an array of new hybrid and edge capabilities to government to ensure that government customers have full access to the technology of the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud era”.