Alphabet, Google's parent company, promises not to allow use of its artificial intelligence technology in weapons and in certain forms of surveillance.
The statement may help Google quash months of vigorous protest by thousands of Google employees, who were unwilling to participate silently in a Google partnership with the U.S. military to I.D. things in video shot by war drones.
Google will instead look for government contract oportunities in cybersecurity, military recruitment, and search & rescue, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post today.
"We want to be clear that while we are not developing AI for use in weapons, we will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas," he said.
We will not design or deploy AI in the following application areas:
Technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm. Where there is a material risk of harm, we will proceed only where we believe that the benefits substantially outweigh the risks, and will incorporate appropriate safety constraints.
Weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people.
Technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms.
Technologies whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.
The company released a list of guiding ethical principles for future efforts.