WASHINGTON — The director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency announced today the agency would be ending its pro bono research and development relationship with Google and other Silicon Valley tech firms.
Founded in 1958, DARPA spent decades conducting cutting edge research for the most difficult problems faced by the military, while working on its lesser-known secondary mission of creating marketable technologies that could be adapted for civilian use, making billionaires out of smart and socially inept twenty-somethings.
“It was something that had to be done,” said Dr. Steven H. Walker, DARPA Director. “While we have enjoyed a long, fruitful relationship with Silicon Valley, we think it is time to make a change.”
“We enjoyed watching them turn ARPANET, the brilliant communication and data sharing system we invented, into the largest repository of cat videos and porn mankind has ever seen,” said Jonathan Winters, a program manager. “And, you can imagine the pride we all felt when the Global Positioning System we designed to guide warships and nuclear armed bombers during the Cold War was turned into an app that guides drunk college students to the nearest Quiznos. But these tech guys have gone too far.”
The policy change came after a number of DARPA scientists raised ethical concerns about large tech firms such as Google and Facebook. Many critics have argued that technology firms are mostly responsible for the rise of “fake news” conspiracy theories that have spread quickly on social media platforms.
“They control 90% of the web search market, so the internet is mostly whatever they say it is. We may build cutting edge death-dealing, murder-bots, but we aren’t reading your emails or convincing your uncle that the Illuminati rigged the local school board election.”
When reached for comment, Google CEO Larry Page denied the news would have a significant impact on the company’s business, but he declined to answer further questions as he stepped into a self-driving car whose technological advances were made possible by the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge.
Still, a visibly-distraught Page immediately sent an encrypted email to the firm’s senior leadership using the Tor system developed by DARPA in 1997 to discuss their options, a company source said.
“Look, no one is happy about this,” said Walker. “But we just can’t do research and development for the military and the private sector. Google just needs to work on its own technological breakthroughs from now on.”