Microsoft and Amazon are now in the driver’s seat

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After employee protests, Google in 2018 ended a collaboration with the US Department of Defense to use artificial intelligence to “identify objects from drone images” – the so-called Maven Project.

Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) then used it to contract with the Defense Ministry for the same task – worth a total of $ 50 million, or around NOK 430 million.

Writes the IT world with wallpaper in the Forbes article that reveals the secret contracts between the two tech giants and the US Department of Defense.

surveillance from the air

At a cost of $ 30 million, Microsoft was asked to provide tools capable of analyzing “Full Motion Video” (FMV) data and “software and algorithms to automate and improve data analysis. large-scale moving images (WAMI) ”.

WAMI is a term used in the surveillance industry and refers to images taken from above – usually from a drone, plane, or satellite – for intelligence purposes. Full Screen Video (FMV) also refers to video images taken from the air.

Amazon’s share of the deal is worth $ 20 million, and they’ve been asked to develop “models for detecting and classifying objects” from FMV and infrared data.

Microsoft was a resource for the 2019 project through fall 2020, while AWS was a resource from early 2020 to October 2020.

Employee protests

The contracts came to light after protests from employees of both companies.

In 2019, Microsoft employees asked the company to terminate a $ 480 million contract to supply the U.S. military with augmented reality headsets. In 2018, Amazon employees asked founder and then CEO Jeff Bezos to stop the company’s development of facial recognition tools for police.

This article was first published in version 2.



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