Google drops out of bidding for massive Pentagon cloud contract

Google drops out of bidding for massive Pentagon cloud contract

Google will not compete for a $10 billion opportunity to build the Defense Department's cloud-computing infrastructure, the company said Tuesday, saying the project could conflict with its corporate values regarding the use of artificial intelligence.

In the wake of backlash over its participation in projects like Project Maven and Dragonfly, Google will no longer pursue a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract.

While we are working to support the USA government with our cloud in many areas, we are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles and second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications.

In June 2018 Google published a set of principles for its artificial intelligence research, with the company stating that it will not use its AI technology to create "weapons or other technologies whose principal objective or implementation is to cause of directly facilitate injury to people". It also comes just months after Google employees protested en masse over the company's work with the United States military.

For its part, Google told Bloomberg that it also supports the idea of splitting the JEDI contract between multiple providers, and that it would have submitted a bid on those terms.

Bloomberg added that a Google spokesperson said, had an effort by a number of companies including Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp., and Oracle Corp.to split the contract into pieces succeeded, the company could have "submitted a compelling solution for portions of it".

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"We are making major progress in delivering this cloud created to meet the regulatory and compliance requirements of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community", the exec wrote in a blog post today.

Amazon Web Services is widely seen as the front-runner for the JEDI project because it already won a $600 million cloud contract from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2013.

Bidding for the JEDI program began two months ago and ends this week.

These certifications are a big deal in the world of government cloud computing, and they are one of the reasons Google dropped out of the running for the JEDI contract Monday. Some Google employees reportedly quit over the company's work on Project Maven, a drone initiative for the USA government that could weaponize their AI research.

The contract is winner-take-all, with Amazon seen as the frontrunner.

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