Why Google refused to share artificial intelligence with oil companies

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Google, following the release of the Greenpeace report on the business of IT giants, refused to create artificial intelligence technologies that help oil workers in exploration and production of raw materials. Other technology companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, are in no hurry to follow suit, Forbes writes.

Google announced Tuesday that it would no longer develop specialized tools based on artificial intelligence or machine learning to help oil and gas companies extract fossil fuels. The company’s decision separates it from other giants working in this industry – Amazon and Microsoft, and gives great hope to environmentalists.

In a statement received by Forbes, the press service of Google clarified that the company will no longer “create specialized algorithms based on artificial intelligence and machine learning for primary production in the oil and gas industry.” That is, Google’s data processing technologies can no longer be used to accelerate oil exploration or simulate the location of raw material deposits.

Obligations under already concluded contracts Google intends to fulfill. With which companies the agreements were signed, the statement did not specify.

Google also noted that oil and gas companies will still be able to use its cloud platform for technological processes and data storage.

The company announced its decision after the publication of the Greenpeace report on how Google, Microsoft and Amazon sell their technology to oil and gas companies to accelerate fossil fuel production.

Microsoft company blog said that he would not follow the example of Google. At the same time, Microsoft recalled that it is making efforts to become “carbon-negative” by 2030.

Amazon press service declined to comment on the Greenpeace report. A statement on the company’s website said that “the energy industry should have access to the same technologies as other companies” and that the corporation wants to “help accelerate the development of business lines operating on renewable energy sources.”

“Despite the fact that Google still has existing contracts with oil and gas companies that I want to believe will be terminated, we welcome the decision to abandon the creation of specialized solutions for primary oil and gas production,” said Forbes Liz Jardim, senior climate expert campaigns in the American division of Greenpeace. “We hope that Microsoft and Amazon will soon also commit themselves to stop cooperating in the field of artificial intelligence with the oil and gas industry, because such contracts contradict their stated goals in the field of climate change and only exacerbate the climate crisis.”

In 2019, Google announced that its revenue from cooperation with the oil and gas industry amounted to about $ 65 million, which is less than 1% of the total revenue of the Google Cloud cloud division.

Republican Congressman Kevin Brady called Google’s decision “a wake-up call.” “I am proud of millions of American energy workers, both blue-collar workers and those involved in research. In the next ten years, 400,000 minorities and 70,000 women will become part of the industry. By the way, it is the oil and gas sector that is the key force in the development of new technologies to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change, ” he wrote on Twitter.

Over the past few months, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have been actively talking about their climate change commitments due to employee protests and pressure from eco-activists. Although the IT sector is often ahead of the trend compared to other industries and makes loud statements about carbon offsetting, Greenpeace and other organizations often criticize technology market players who continue their joint business with extractive enterprises. In particular, Greenpeace in its report says that “a Microsoft contract with ExxonMobil alone can lead to emissions exceeding 20% ​​of Microsoft’s own emissions per year.”

This is not the first time Google has completed business with a mixed customer. In 2018, after extensive media coverage and protests by its own employees, the company decided not to renew the contract with the Pentagon as part of the Project Maven project, a program that used artificial intelligence to increase the accuracy of military drones.


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