Lawmakers peppered Google CEO Sundar Pichai with a broad range of questions when he testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. This was Pichai's first time in front of Congress and culminates a tough year for big tech companies, including Google. He received questions about political bias, Chinese censorship and data privacy.
What we didn't hear One topic that didn't come up during the hearing was Google's decision earlier this year not to renew a Pentagon contract for analyzing drone videos using artificial intelligence. Google dropped that project, called Maven, following employee protests through petitions and resignations. Pichai subsequently published an artificial intelligence ethics code that Google would work with the government and military on cybersecurity and training, but not on weapons or surveillance that violate "internationally accepted norms."
In his prepared remarks ahead of Tuesday's hearing, Pichai emphasized Google's patriotism, a stance that seemed aimed at appeasing critics who saw Google's abandonment of Project Maven as turning its back on the Department of Defense.
However, lawmakers didn't probe Google on Maven or its stance on working with the military more broadly.
Another thing that didn't appear amid the partisan jabs was any real indication that Congress is on its way to making meaningful progress towards curbing Google and other tech giants' power or passing legislation that protects consumer privacy.