Google executives instructed staff final week in a companywide assembly that it’s inquisitive about a Pentagon contract for cloud computing and that working for the army wouldn’t essentially battle with ideas created by the corporate for the way its synthetic intelligence expertise could be used.
Google is pursuing the contract three years after an worker revolt compelled the corporate to desert work on a Pentagon program that used synthetic intelligence and to determine new pointers towards utilizing A.I. for weapons or surveillance.
The pursuit probably units up one other conflict between firm leaders and staff. Google’s cloud unit prioritized preparation for a bid on a Pentagon contract, The New York Times revealed this month, pulling engineers off different initiatives to give attention to making a profitable proposal.
The rush 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 Defense Department, referred to as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, as a result of the work would battle with its A.I. ideas.
The JEDI cloud computing contract was estimated to be value $10 billion over 10 years, and was awarded to Microsoft in 2019. But dealing with authorized challenges from Amazon, the Pentagon scrapped the contract in July and introduced a brand new plan to buy cloud computing expertise. The new model of the contract, referred to as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, will break up the work between a number of corporations.
The segmented nature of the contract permits Google to work on components of the Pentagon cloud with out violating its ban on weapons, Google executives instructed staff within the videoconference assembly on Thursday, a recording of which was obtained by The Times.
The actual scope of the work remains to be unclear as a result of the federal government has not submitted a proper request for proposal. While it has not been invited to bid, Google has mentioned it’s .
In a weblog put up printed the identical day because the assembly, Thomas Kurian, who oversees the corporate’s cloud unit, wrote: “If we are invited to be part of the J.W.C.C. contract, we will absolutely bid.”
At the assembly, Mr. Kurian mentioned there are numerous areas the place Google’s capabilities and experience may be utilized “with no conflict to Google’s A.I. principles.”
“We have governance processes that provide guidance and oversight into what A.I. products we will offer and what custom A.I. projects we will and we will not pursue, and we will follow those governance processes,” he mentioned.
Mr. Kurian’s remarks, which have been reported earlier by CNBC, have been made in response to a query from an worker about Google’s curiosity within the Pentagon contract and The Times’s reporting on it.
“We understand that not every Googler will agree with this decision, but we believe Google Cloud should seek to serve the government where it is capable of doing so and where the work meets Google’s A.I. principles and our company’s values,” Mr. Kurian mentioned.
Google’s chief govt, Sundar Pichai, echoed his remarks. “I think we are strongly committed to working with the government in a way that’s consistent with our A.I. principles,” Mr. Pichai mentioned.
A spokesman for Google declined to remark.