Home News Google Employees Can Compete for Pentagon Contracts Without Violating Principles

Google Employees Can Compete for Pentagon Contracts Without Violating Principles

Google Employees Can Compete for Pentagon Contracts Without Violating Principles

Google executives told employees last week in a companywide meeting that it is interested in a Pentagon contract for cloud computing and that working for the military would not necessarily conflict with principles created by the company for how its artificial intelligence technology would be used.

Google is pursuing the contract three years after an employee revolt forced the company to abandon work on a Pentagon program that used artificial intelligence and to establish new guidelines against using A.I. for weapons or surveillance.

The pursuit potentially sets up another clash between company leaders and employees. Google’s cloud unit prioritized preparation for a bid on a Pentagon contract, The New York Times revealed this month, pulling engineers off other projects to focus on creating a winning proposal.

The rush to pursue the contract is a dramatic shift for Google, which said in 2018 that it would not bid on a major cloud computing contract with the Defense Department, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, because the work would conflict with its A.I. principles.

The JEDI cloud computing contract was estimated to be worth $10 billion over 10 years and was awarded to Microsoft in 2019. But facing legal challenges from Amazon, the Pentagon scrapped the contract in July and announced a new plan to purchase cloud computing technology. The new version of the contract, known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, will split the work between multiple companies.

The segmented nature of the contract allows Google to work on parts of the Pentagon cloud without violating its ban on weapons, Google executives told employees in the videoconference meeting on Thursday, a recording of which was obtained by The Times.

The exact scope of the work is still unclear because the government has not submitted a formal request for a proposal. While it has not been invited to bid, Google has said it is interesting.

In a blog post published the same day as the meeting, Thomas Kurian, who oversees the company’s cloud unit, wrote: “If we are invited to be part of the J.W.C.C. contract, we will absolutely bid.”

At the meeting, Mr. Kurian said there are many areas where Google’s capabilities and expertise can be applied “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 said.

Mr. Kurian’s remarks, which were reported earlier by CNBC, were made in response to a question from an employee about Google’s interest in 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 said.

Google’s chief executive, 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 said.

A spokesman for Google declined to comment.

Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...