Does Project Maven’s use of Google’s A.I. tech violate ‘Don’t Be Evil’ credo?

Searching for ethics

Search giant Google, which was started 20 years ago by two Stanford students, has grown over the years, and they’ve stuck with a very college-kid like motto: “Don’t Be Evil.” But now, some Google employees are saying the company should practice what it preaches when it comes to the military using its powerful A.I. technology.

Some 3,000 Googlers – as Google employees are known – have sent CEO Sundar Pichai an open letter asking him to end cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense’s “Project Maven.” That venture includes using Google’s A.I. tech to scrutinize drone footage to catch things human reviewers miss. To be clear, Google isn’t making or flying the drones, and the A.I. tech the military is using is actually a product Google makes available to anyone. But the military’s use of it clearly isn’t sitting well with a number of workers who are worried the A.I. results are being used, well, for evil. What do you think of the controversy? Leave us a comment on our YouTube page.

An implant a day…

We’ve got some new tech terms for you now: “Electroceuticals” and “bioelectric medicine.” Better get used to them, especially after reading about the development at Stanford of a tiny nerve-stimulation implant that can be implanted in patients. Once installed, it can be used to treat a wide range of maladies, according to a DT interview with a researcher on the project.

Illnesses ranging from diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis to epilepsy to chronic pain – and many, many more – could be dealt with using the tiny implant, which is the size of a grain of rice, and could get smaller in future iterations. It’s injected under the skin and controlled with ultrasound, and the researchers say tests with frogs and other animals have shown promise.

Indy forever

It was the buzz of the entertainment world yesterday and we want to know from you, our fellow movie lovers: Who would make for a great next Indiana Jones – or Indiana “Joan”? That’s right, Indy series executive producer Steven Spielberg says that the next Indiana Jones movie will likely be the last for aging mega-star Harrison Ford, but it won’t be the last movie in the series – apparently by a long shot – and the next Indy could be a woman. 

Ford will retire his fedora in the as-yet unnamed next installment, which is scheduled for a summer 2020 release and is in production right now. We can tell you the next Indy likely won’t be Shia LaBeouf, Indy’s fictional son, as the actor has passed on the next installment. Star Lord, aka Chris Pratt, has been a recurring name for a possible replacement, but the idea of a woman taking over the role has us intrigued. Let us know who you think should land the role of a lifetime in our YouTube comments section.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.