Google AI staff balk at helping US military keep AI lead over China

Defense One Technology Editor Patrick Tucker has reported on August 2017 meetings between US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Google founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai. Over a half day of meetings, Google leaders described the company’s multi-year transition to cloud computing and how it was helping them develop into a powerhouse for research and development into artificial intelligence. Brin, in particular, was eager to showcase how much Google was learning every day about AI and cloud implementation.

The Defense Department plans to issue a single award (The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI) for a commercial cloud computing contract that some analysts believe could be worth as much as $10 billion over the next 10 years.

The notion of a single award contract irked some in the defense industry who—based on the Pentagon’s evolving strategy—had assumed a multi-award cloud contract was in order. In a statement, Microsoft said it was “disappointed” the Defense Department was pursuing a single cloud option.

The competition is still in its early phases, with a request for proposals expected as early as this week. But the senior defense official said that the race is shaping up as a three-way fight between Amazon, Microsoft, and Google — with Oracle a rather distant fourth.

Amazon is the current leader in cloud computing by total revenue.
Google is the lead in Artificial intelligence and has strong cloud computing technology.

Google is a US AI leader but its AI employees do not want to work on military applications

In April, some 3,100 Google employees signed a letter urging the company to not work on a small-scale, Air Force AI program called Maven. The Maven program would use artificial intelligence and machine learning to classify objects in surveillance footage.

Tencent’s recent “2017 Global AI Talent White Paper,” focused primarily on China in comparison to the United States. Tencent’s research found that currently “200,000 of the 300,000 active researchers and practitioners” are already employed in the industry, while some 100,000 are researching or studying in academia. Their number far exceeds the high-end of Jean-François Gagné estimate of global AI talent. Jean Francois Gagne is a veteran AI entrepreneur and former Chief Product Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at JDA Software. He measured at world AI talent at 22,000 in 2018. Tencent includes the entire technical teams and not just the specially-trained experts. Jfgagne.ai’s report focuses on finding out where the relatively small number of “AI experts” currently reside around the world.

Jfgagne.ai’s report used
* results from several LinkedIn searches, which showed the total number of profiles according to specialized parameters.
* they captured the names of leading AI conference presenters who they consider to be influential experts in their respective fields of AI.
* they relied on other reports and anecdotes from the global community to put their numbers in greater context and see how the picture may develop in the near future

Jfgagne.ai found that there are
* roughly 22,000 PhD-educated researchers in the entire world who are capable of working in AI research and applications, with only 3,074 candidates currently looking for work.
* currently 5,400 AI experts in the world who are publishing and presenting at leading AI conferences across the globe and who are well-versed enough in the technology to work with teams taking to take it from research to application.

Out of 22,000 LinkedIn profiles, almost half of all candidates (9,010) are living and working in the United States.

China plans to develop a $150 billion AI industry by 2030.

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