Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos have said he will continue to support the US Defense Department while speaking at the Wired25 Conference at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco.
This commitment follows its rival’s withdrawal of its bid for a $10 billion Pentagon contract. Google withdrew after employee protests. Google had concerns that the project may conflict with its principles for the ethical use of AI.
‘If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,’ Mr. Bezos said.
Jeff Bezos stepped in to take Googles place in the aforementioned contract bid, stating; ‘this is a great country, and it does need to be defended’
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project – known as Jedi – is a 10-year deal to offer cloud computing services, worth as much as $10bn (£7.6bn).
A number of technology firms have been involved in pitching for the work, drawing anger from employees, who have protested via petitions and resignations.
Even in the present divided political climate, Bezos said the US is ‘still the best country in the world,’ and if it were up to him, he’d let anyone come to the country who wants to.
He concedes the choice to back the Jedi Project may be unpopular, but ‘One of the jobs of the senior leadership team is to make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular.’
Google withdrew from the Jedi project because it said the firm would not engage in work that, by design, could spy on, injure or kill people. However, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google have said it will continue to work with the Defense Department, but not when it comes to the sue of artificial intelligence for autonomous weaponry.
Excerpts from an open letter reportedly written by Microsoft employees reads: ‘Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war.’