By Scott Shane, Cade Metz and Daisuke Wakabayashi
May 30, 2018
WASHINGTON — Fei-Fei Li is among the brightest stars in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence, somehow managing to hold down two demanding jobs simultaneously: head of Stanford University’s A.I. lab and chief scientist for A.I. at Google Cloud, one of the search giant’s most promising enterprises.
Yet last September, when nervous company officials discussed how to speak publicly about Google’s first major A.I. contract with the Pentagon, Dr. Li strongly advised shunning those two potent letters.
“Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI,” she wrote in an email to colleagues reviewed by The New York Times. “Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI — if not THE most. This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google.”
via How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google – The New York Times
Ugly and complicated, my heart goes out to both sides in this debate. I fear that my hero Barack Obama will go down in history as the man who made drone assignation OK, and in the next few centuries, quality of life could be utterly diminished by a drumbeat of drone assassinations in many countries. Parents will be telling their children not to go outside, because of the danger of drone attacks, because the parent is on someone’s enemies list. A world of assassination drones will make The Hunger Games look prescient. Google might want to joint these contracts, while officially lobbying for all drone killing to be banned as a modernization of the Geneva Conventions for appropriate methods of war.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com