The company's contract with the military will not be renewed after it runs out in 2019, said Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene at a meeting with employees. She said the backlash over the deal had been bad for the company and that the contract was pursued during a time when the company was actively seeking military work.

Internal emails, reviewed by Gizmodo, suggest that Google's leadership was initially very enthusiastic about the project, as it could lead to more military contracts in the future.

Google has remained mum about Project Maven, which reportedly uses machine learning and engineering talent to distinguish people and objects in drone videos for the Defense Department.

Through Project Maven, Google provides artificial intelligence technology to the Pentagon to help humans detect and identify targets captured by drone images.

However, Google employees and outside AI experts are concerned that the United States military will one day weaponize the research to conduct warfare.

Google will stop selling its artificial intelligence expertise to the Pentagon in a controversial partnership that saw massive pushback from the Mountain View firm's employees, according to a new report.

Google declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.

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But for employees who saw themselves working for a more moral tech giant (which recently abandoned its unofficial "don't be evil" motto), there probably won't be much good news.

Disquiet around Google's involvement with US Pentagon programme Project Maven has been building for some months now. The dissidents said it clashed with the company's stated principle of doing no harm and cited risks around using a nascent artificial intelligence technology in lethal situations. Pentagon spokeswoman Major Audricia Harris said in email to Reuters on Friday that the Pentagon values "all of our relationships with academic institutions and commercial companies involved with Project Maven".

But what about using artificial intelligence to power robots that defuse bombs or IEDs?

Project Maven has been a source of tension within Google.

This would all be analyzed by Google AI software, allowing analysis of a city's data in "near-real time", according to Gizmodo.

The emails also revealed that Silicon Valley heavyweights including IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft were in the running for AI Defense Department contracts, and that Project Maven was "directly related" to a government cloud computing contract worth billions of dollars.