It’s artificial intelligence up, but guns down for Google as the Mountain View, California-based search engine giant shot down any notion that its latest technology would be used as weaponry. This assertion came after more than 4,000 Google employees protested the use of AI for military purposes.
As Google continues to advance its artificial intelligence technology, the company laid out specific objectives on how this technology will and will not be used—those precluded from the benefits of AI technology include weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people and technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms of human rights, according to a blog post by Sundar Pichai, a chief executive at Google.
Google will, however, continue to work with the government and military branches in using artificial intelligence to enhance cybersecurity, training, and military recruitment. Even if Google limits its AI technology for military purposes, other early AI technology adopters who are not so reticent to the idea of helping the military could benefit defense ETFs, such as PowerShares Aerospace & Defense ETF (NYSEArca: PPA), SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (NYSEArca: XAR), and iShares US Aerospace & Defense (NYSEArca: ITA).
Google was already working on the Pentagon’s Project Maven program, which utilized AI to interpret video images to improve drone strikes. However, this project ultimately sparked the employee protests.
We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use, said Pichai. How A.I. is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come.
Google’s artificial intelligence initiatives do include goals, such as diagnosing diseases and reducing email spam. While the company continues to develop uses for its artificial intelligence, this could bolster ETFs with exposure to Google, including PowerShares Nasdaq Internet Portfolio (NASDAQ: PNQI), First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (NYSEArca: FDN), and the iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (NYSEArca: IYW).
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