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Shouldn't Google and other tech giants be helping the military?

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by britjames, Jun 11, 2018.

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  1. britjames

    britjames New Member

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    "Google has announced it will end its collaboration with Pentagon after finishing up existing commitments by early next year. People are now criticizing Google for not supporting the military."

    But I feel they should. The US military deserves our support in every proper way possible.

    Source - How much control does Google have on its AI projects? | AlphaStreet
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  2. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Google and other tech companies are just that, tech companies, not defence companies, which means a completely different outlook and focus, as well as drawing from a very different pool of talent. Also being tech companies and more specifically software/data companies they have offices all over the world which can access their 'products' unlike a defence company like Boeing or Lockheed Martin, where physical access to the company product can be tightly controlled. This could be important, especially if the nation where a satellite office is located ends up demanding access to data, or source code.

    Lastly, there is serious potential for negative implications in developing facial recognition, location tracking, and similar software, as well as managing the underlying data. Yes, such systems and data could be potentially used to identify a threat, but they can (and have) been used for other purposes, including ones which would impinge on a citizen's freedoms and civil liberties. That is just for operations here in the US. Those same tech companies which develop and/or manage a defence related product and have offices overseas could find themselves having to either build or grant access to similar systems in whatever host country the office is located in, which might not have the sorts of freedoms the US has.

    Always consider not only what/how data is supposed to be used, but also how it can be mis-used. Facial recognition and location tracking software can and have misidentified people and locations, and authorities can become complacent or reliant on some of the tools which could get developed. Imagine getting questioned, never mind charged, based off gov't pulling track data and realizing (or just believing) that you had been to a specific location of interest. IMO it would just be a matter of time before such a tech capability would be abused, should it get developed.
     
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  3. britjames

    britjames New Member

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    I understand your viewpoint, totally makes sense, but technology is always a double-edged sword. Moreover tech companies in other countries support their government without question. Our armed forces need us too.
     
  4. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    To back that statement up I suggest that you supply some examples of western nations where this applies and sources for that.
     
  5. tonnyc

    tonnyc Member

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    Actually, I think it has more to do with who owns the shares and who sits in the CEO seat rather than being a Western nation or otherwise.
     
  6. weaponwh

    weaponwh Member

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    google is a global company, they have to consider business elsewhere too. nations will get suspicious if it involve with pentagon, some might out right ban google product for national security reason. there are alot hassle relate to doing work for pentagon etc, they wont have the open work environment they currently enjoy. furthermore, most engineer/talent in the company don't like the idea of working for government. On top of that a lot these talent are H1B, green card, or naturalized citizen, passing security clearance might be tough.
     
  7. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    As I raised initially and others have also brought up, most of the big tech companies have a global footprint. Google for instance has over 70 offices spread across 50 countries, broken down into five regions. With that kind of footprint, it is rather inaccurate to state that the company is an "American" company since it really is a global company. The HQ might be based in the US, but the company overall has to obey the laws of various other countries it has facilities in as well.

    One also has to consider what the implications of tech work directly for a gov't might be. What has happened with Huawei and ZTE is a good example, where the companies have effectively (for now at least) been shut out of the US market due to exporting some US-sourced electronics to Iran despite US sanctions. If either company were to work for the mainland Chinese gov't in a tech/ELINT capacity (yes, there are some suspicions about that...) then the companies could find themselves further closed out of various export markets, and/or be the subject of greater scrutiny.
     
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  8. tedowsley

    tedowsley New Member

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    Totally agree. Google can't afford to compromise on its work and workforce.
     
  9. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    Tech giants would have no problem assisting their respective governments if the assistance was kept secret. Profits are there but unfortunately the government can't keep such support secret.