President Donald Trump accused Google of working with the Chinese military. His message filled with sarcasm against the tech giant which dominated the entire Twitter space last Saturday evening.
“Google is helping China and their military, but not the US,” Trump said. “Terrible.”
However, Google denied the allegation saying that instead of working with the Chinese government, the tech giant is creating means to help the US, especially the Department of Defense, in different fields including cybersecurity, recruiting, and healthcare.
Trump’s criticisms anchored with that of Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who said that the work that Google is currently doing in China is advancing the Chinese military through his testimony during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
In the ongoing rivalry of the two countries, any advancement in technology that benefits each country’s military defenses is becoming a big deal.
Earlier this month, Google has been accused of secretly working on a censored Chinese search engine. After the accusation circulated online, the tech giant announced that they scrapped the project in December. The plan meant to test the viability of a censored search engine product in China
The project targeted 800 million internet users were known as ‘Project Dragonfly’ inside the business. Several employees have reported that the program would allow Google to create a custom Android app of various versions like ‘Maotai’ and ‘Longfei.’
Currently, Google is not operational in China. Back in 2010, the company pulled out its services after a series of cyber-attacks, promulgated by the Chinese government, targeted human rights activists in the country.
In June, Google refused to let the US Military to reuse a program that would allow its military defenses to analyze aerial drone imagery. The defense program, known as ‘Project Maven,’ almost created a faction between employees who consistently showed opposition indicating that Google is an independent platform which should not be used in warfare. They signed an open letter which urged Google to cut ties with the program. At least a dozen or so resigned due to the company’s continued involvement on the project.
Several tech companies have faced significant criticisms from Washington and around the world over specific issues including hate speech and subordination to foreign influence. Moreover, Republican Senator Josh Hawley also commented that Google, for example, is supposedly an ‘American-owned company.’
But, Google is making a step to improve its company procedures, as well as, its values. Recently, it pledges to release a set of principles that will guide its work on artificial intelligence and some of its technologies. The document called “Artificial Intelligence at Google: our principles” cited the company’s stand on developing AI for use in weaponry. It also touches issues like bias, privacy, and human oversight.
However, while the new principles forbid the creation of AI weaponry, Google will continue to work with the military ‘in many other areas’ as long as it does not offend other countries. The principle also emphasizes that it will not work on AI surveillance projects that violate “internationally accepted norms” or projects which break “widely accepted values of international law and human rights.”
In an in-depth understanding of Google’s recent issue on helping China, it shows that the modern technology focuses not only in creating means to help improve human lives through products more useful in emailing, digital assistant people can speak to, photos and videos for entertainment and leisure but also in military purposes.
Now, it is just fair to ask the tech giant ‘what happened to Google which claims to be a socially beneficial platform?’
Google should avoid unfair bias which means that the tech giant needs to remain accountable to humans and uphold high standards of scientific excellence. Google CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized several times already that the company acknowledges the fact that it does create a powerful technology which somehow raises prevailing questions about its use. And how a certain tool is developed and used will have a significant impact on society as well as human lives in the years to come. Therefore, as a leader in these technological advancements, it should feel a deep responsibility to make things right.