Google is looking to take on some work for the American military, lobbying the Pentagon for the American Department of Defense’s Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract. This is despite possible opposition to the contract from the company’s own employees.
This time around, though, it’s possible that the search giant won’t face quite as much opposition as it did with its previous Pentagon contract. Previously the company worked on Project Maven, which saw it using AI to assess images that could eventually lead to ‘improved’ drone strike capability. The company’s involvement ended in 2018, following employee protests, and saw Google implement a new set of ethical principles for its AI work.
Google isn’t going to war
If successful in its bid, something that won’t be known for some time, the Alphabet-owned company apparently won’t have much to do on the military side of things. The JWCC contract will see the company, according to Engadget, pursue “…cloud services like hosting, storage and networking, in addition to artificial intelligence and machine learning”, with a focus on monitoring less ballistic events, like climate change or the pandemic.
The company’s artificial intelligence systems don’t get the face time they perhaps deserve, but they could be put to use in a variety of ways. A spokesperson said, “We strongly believe a multi-cloud strategy offers the department the best solution today and in the future.”
“We are firmly committed to serving our public sector customers, including the DoD, Department of Energy, NIH, and many other government agencies, and we will evaluate any future bid opportunities accordingly,” they added.
But, before any of Google’s employees have a reason to be upset about this, the company first has to win the contract. That may take some time. While some staff were pulled from other projects to put together a proposal for the Pentagon, Google will only know in a few weeks’ time whether they’re even qualified to bid for the contract.