Amazon — the online retail giant, friend of the US war machine and supporter of the CIA — is ready to take its relationship with the Department of Defense to the next level as the Pentagon sets its sights on automated warfare and increased killing efficiency in what will be one of the biggest technology contracts in defense department history.
The online retail giant was founded back in 1994 when it began as an online book seller. Fast forward almost 25 years — Amazon is now the world’s largest online retailer, boasting more than 300 million customers and net sales of $178 billion. But even that isn’t enough for the ever-expanding online corporation.
Amazon’s next project hopeful is called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). JEDI would use Amazon’s “brain,” the vast data storage capacity and creepy artificial intelligence programs that have helped the company’s retail business become so successful over the years. While millions of Amazon users worldwide are drawn to the convenience and user friendliness of the services currently offered, JEDI puts the dark side of the online retailer on full display.
There’s no getting around it – JEDI is a weapon with unprecedented surveillance abilities and actual killing power, something the defense department calls “algorithmic warfare”.
The Pentagon’s goal with JEDI is to increase efficiency when it comes to sharing data and information between branches of the military with the ultimate goal of boosting the “lethality” of the war machine. Not only with data sharing be improved after JEDI’s implementation, the US military will finally be able to sort through and increase collection of massive swaths of surveillance collected by both governmental and non-governmental sources across the globe, thanks to artificial intelligence and fancy algorithms tasked with singling out targets for killing.
While JEDI won’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, it will speed up the tasks mentioned above. According to The Guardian, JEDI “promises to find those enemies faster – even if all it takes to be considered an enemy is exhibiting a pattern of behavior that a (classified) machine-learning model associates with hostile activity. Call it death by big data.”
DoD Chief Management Officer John H. Gibson II said of JEDI:
“This program is truly about increasing the lethality of our department and providing the best resources to our men and women in uniform. JEDI Cloud is just one contract and part of a much larger strategy for overall [information technology] efforts.”
Amazon is the shoo-in to win the $10 billion, ten-year cloud project JEDI contract thanks to their previous work with the CIA when the online retailer earned $600 million to build the CIA a private cloud and the fact that they’re, by far, the dominant cloud infrastructure provider.
The deadline to submit proposals for JEDI was October 12, 2018 – the Pentagon will likely select the winner in 2019.