Nation & World

Google bows out of Pentagon's cloud-computing race

The contract is worth $10 billion

Bloomberg

Google says it dropped its bid for ethical reasons and because it lacked certain government certifications.
Bloomberg Google says it dropped its bid for ethical reasons and because it lacked certain government certifications.

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

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

The competition has drawn interest from other major tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft. Bids are due Friday.

Google said in a statement to the Washington Post that it dropped its bid for ethical reasons and because it lacked certain government certifications. The move was first reported by Bloomberg News.

“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,” a Google representative said in the statement.

It added that the company works with the U.S. government in many areas.

“We will continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirements,” it said.

Google is undergoing a broader reckoning over how the company’s artificial intelligence algorithms, which are some of the most advanced in the world, should be applied to the work of national defense.

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In early June, the company said it would drop out of a Defense Department project to apply its artificial intelligence to analyzing drone video when its contract expires next year. The move followed pressure from employees who objected to the company’s involvement in a long-standing drone war.

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