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"You may see a place to recharge your Fitbit but nothing to indicate the sort of patriotic identity that the rest of the defense contractors have". More than 3,000 of Google's employees signed a letter asking Chief Executive Sundar Pichai to end the company's involvement in the project.

The contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI for short, calls for a massive cloud-computing system that can handle classified US military data and enable new defense capabilities.

Still, Google's decision to pull out was probably a smart one given that its chances of landing the contract were pretty slim, a second analyst said.

"We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles", said a Google spokesman.

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Even if Microsoft doesn't win the JEDI contract, earning the IL-6 authorization next year will give the company an advantage as it competes for other government business. As only one company will be awarded the contract, Amazon is seen as the frontrunner.

IBM has officially griped to a top United States government watchdog about JEDI - the Pentagon's proposed 10-year $10bn single-vendor IT system for America's Green Machine.

Microsoft is on track to catch up with Amazon by obtaining top federal security authorizations early next year, bolstering the company's position in the Pentagon's winner-take-all competition for a multibillion-dollar cloud computing deal. Had the JEDI contract been open to multiple vendors, we would have submitted a compelling solution for portions of it. "Google Cloud believes that a multi-cloud approach is in the best interest of government agencies, because it allows them to choose the right cloud for the right workload". A dozen people resigned before Google pledged to ditch Project Maven but "continue our work with governments and the military". The about-face comes after Google employees protested and resigned at what they perceived as their company's enabling of warfare technology, and demanded a corporate policy to prevent Google from working on harmful technologies in the future.

Google has withdrawn its bid for a lucrative $10bn Pentagon cloud computing contract amid concern that the defence contract would contravene its own principles limiting military applications of artificial intelligence. According to those principles, Google will not design or deploy AI that can cause harm or injury to people, that can gather information for surveillance that "violates internationally accepted norms", or that violates global law and human rights principles.


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