Google Drops Out of Pentagon’s $10bn Cloud-Computing Race


The search engine giant has cited ethical reasons and lack of certain government certifications behind its decision of dropping the bid.

Google, on Tuesday, announced that it will not be competing for a $10 billion opportunity to build the US Defense Department’s cloud-computing infrastructure, citing that the project could conflict with its corporate values regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI for short, calls for a massive cloud-computing system that can handle classified U.S. military data and enable new defense capabilities. Other major tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, have shown interest in the competition, the bids for which are due Friday.

Explaining the reason behind its decision, the search engine giant has said that they are not bidding on the JEDI contract for two main reasons –  first, they couldn’t be assured that it would align with their AI principles and second, they are determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with their current government certifications.

However, the company has assured that it will continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirements.

Earlier this year in June, Google decided to drop out of another defense contract called Project Maven, which provided artificial intelligence for the assessment of drone imagery, when its contract expires next year. Following the announcement, thousands of Google employees signed a petition asking the company to bow out of the project, and dozens more resigned as a mark of protest.

In the wake of the protest, the company released a statement that it would entirely ban the development of AI software that can be used in weapons systems and establish a new set of AI principles that would set limits on the company’s work moving forward.



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