Google CEO Sundar Pichai will reportedly meet with a top US military official in Washington to discuss the company's AI efforts in China

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai
  • GoogleCEO Sundar Pichai will meet with a top US military official in Washington, DC, on Wednesday to discuss the tech giant’s business and technology efforts in China, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • The meeting comes after Gen. Dunford’s remarks during a Senate hearing earlier in March, where he said Google’s artificial intelligence work in China “indirectly benefits the Chinese military.”
  • Google has said that it’s “not working with the Chinese military” and that its AI activities in China focus on “education, research on natural language understanding and market algorithms, and development of globally available tools.”
  • Google has come under pressure by US lawmakers to show its support for government agencies since last year when the company decided not to renew its contract to build AI tools for the Pentagon, known as Project Maven.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will meet with a top US military official in Washington, DC, on Wednesday to discuss the tech giant’s business and technology efforts in China, according to a Bloomberg report.

News of the meeting between Google and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford was made public last week, but it was unknown that Pichai himself would be making the trip. Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The meeting comes after Gen. Dunford’s remarks during a Senate hearing earlier in March, where he said Google’s artificial intelligence work in China “indirectly benefits the Chinese military.”

Following Gen. Dunford’s comments, President Trump weighed in on Twitter, criticising Google for “helping China and their military, but not the US.”

A Google spokesperson responded to the tweet in a statement on Saturday, saying, “We are not working with the Chinese military.”

Google – which opened an AI lab in Beijing in late 2017 – says on its website that its AI activities in China focus on “education, research on natural language understanding and market algorithms, and development of globally available tools.”

At a talk last week at the Atlantic Council, Gen. Dunford said, “This is not about me and Google. This is about us looking at the second- and third-order of effects of our business ventures in China, Chinese form of government, and the impact it’s going to have on the United States’ ability to maintain a competitive military advantage.”

Google is not the only tech company doing business with China. “Last year, Amazon and Microsoft announced their own AI labs in China,” Bloomberg reported. “Unlike Google, those two companies already sell cloud services in China.”


Read more:
A new report says Google is still secretly working on its censored China search engine but the company outright denies it

Google has come under pressure by US lawmakers following the company’s decision not to renew its contract to build AI tools for the Pentagon, known as Project Maven. The decision came amid intense internal backlash at Google from employees who condemned the military work.

Last October, Google also bowed out of a potential cloud contract with the Pentagon worth billions. Although US companies like Amazon and Microsoft bid for the deal (known as JEDI), Google said that it “couldn’t be assured that [the use of its technology] would align with our AI Principles.” At the same time, Google was working a search engine for the Chinese market – a project the company has since said it has “no plans to launch.”

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