Reprinted from The Washington Post by Samantha Maldonado on August 25, 2019.
When Liz O’Sullivan was hired at the New York City-based artificial intelligence company Clarifai in 2017, she felt lucky to find work at the intersection of two of her main interests: technology and ethics. Two years later, she encountered a moral dilemma.
Clarifai was developing aerial photography and object detection tools as one of several companies working on Project Maven, a Pentagon drone surveillance program. After talking to friends and colleagues, O’Sullivan realized this type of technology eventually could be used for autonomous weapons.
In January, she wrote to Clarifai CEO Matt Zeiler on behalf of a group of employees, asking whether the technology would be used for weapons and urging him to commit to a series of ethical measures. After Zeiler later acknowledged Clarifai likely would provide tech for autonomous weapons, O’Sullivan quit. …