Friday afternoon, Gizmodo reported that Google would not renew Project Maven—its contract with the military to develop image-recognition AI—when it expires next year. A Google executive cited a wave of negative attention the company experienced from pursuing the project as a main reason for not renewing the contract. Nevertheless, top Google executives defended the company's work on the project and didn't say whether Google would be leaving the military business entirely. This was a telling omission, considering that Google is actively pursuing a multi-billion dollar cloud computing contract with the Department of Defense.
In other words, Google employees may have won on the AI issue, but what comes next? Is getting cozy with the Department of Defense the inevitable destiny of any company working on cutting-edge technology?