The company has confirmed a Gizmodo report that it's offering TensorFlow programming kits to the Defense Department as part of a pilot that helps Project Maven process the glut of drone footage quickly.
In a statement, a spokesperson told The Register that the search giant were providing "open source TensorFlow APIs that can assist in object recognition on unclassified data".
The deal is part of the Defense Department's Project Maven initiative to use technology and automation to sift through huge amounts of data, according to tech publication Gizmodo, which reported on the partnership on Tuesday.
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The partnership is not without precedent; In 2017, the Defense Department spent $7.4 billion on A.I. -related initiatives; Project Maven, also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, was founded previous year to "accelerate DoD's integration of big data and machine learning".
"The technology flags images for human review, and is for non-offensive uses only", a Google spokesperson told Bloomberg. Gizmodo reports that some Google employees are not happy about providing their technology for military uses. "We're actively discussing this important topic internally and with others as we continue to develop policies and safeguards around the development and use of our machine learning technologies", the spokesperson emphasized.
In July, the Defense Department described Project Maven as an initiative to explore how cutting-edge AI technologies could eventually be used in warfare. While its cloud competitors, Amazon and Microsoft Azure, offer government-oriented cloud products created to hold information classified as secret, Google does not now have a similar product offering.More news: Apple No Longer Accepting iTunes LP Submissions
The press release said Maven's initial focus was to detect "38 classes of objects that represent the kinds of things the department needs to detect, especially in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria".
Maven is overseen by the undersecretary for defence intelligence and Lt Gen John Shanahan was selected as the project's director.More news: Moors & Cabot Inc. Decreases Position in Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI)
By winter 2017, the team set out to locate commercial partners whose expertise was needed to make its AI dreams a reality.
"People and computers will work symbiotically to increase the ability of weapon systems to detect objects", Marine Corps Col.
The DOD has made public its intentions to ramp up research efforts in AI and machine learning and the need to partner up with industry. "They recognized that [with] AI systems ... you had to understand what your end-user was going to do with them", Allen said.More news: Chris Lilley developing new series
According to a Bloomberg report, U.S. defence secretary James Mattis had visited the Google HQ to meet with company officials to discuss the best ways to use AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity for the Pentagon.