Jack Poulson told his bosses he was forced to resign in order to avoid contributing to, or profiting from, the failure to protect dissidents.
Poulson reportedly said that Google did not answer whether it would agree to Chinese demands.
About 1,000 employees signed an open letter asking the company to be transparent about the project and to create an ethical review process for it that includes rank-and-file employees, not just high-level executives, according to CNET.
"The Chinese government extensively violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy; by accommodating the Chinese authorities' repression of dissent, Google would be actively participating in those violations for millions of internet users in China", the letter says. Eventually, a petition made the rounds with Google workers demanding that the search giant sever ties with the military project. In a secret deal, Google provided AI tools to the Pentagon that helped analyze drone video footage. Pichai became Google's CEO in 2015, taking over from co-founder Larry Page, who became CEO of Alphabet, the holding company that owns Google. Among them is a promise to never build AI-enhanced weapons and to never create technology "whose objective contravenes widely accepted principles of global law and human rights".
Google, on the other hand, has declined to comment on the Poulson's departure from the company saying it was against the company's policy to comment on individual employees.
What happened: Yesterday, a bipartisan group of 16 United States lawmakers addressed a letter to Google questioning the company over its reported plans to re-launch its search engine in mainland China. The news that Google's leadership might be willing to censor information stunned and bewildered some rank-and-file employees.
In 2010, Google famously announced it was leaving China, specifically mentioning China's censorship tactics as a reason for pulling out of the country. The consequences to Google's moral stances have meant lost revenue in the years since.
Facebook's website is also banned in China but the company has also signaled its interest to enter the market.
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