Sunday, January 24, 2021

Top AI ethics researcher says she was fired from Google

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Thursday morning, after a wave of support for Gebru on social media, Dean sent a internal email to Google’s AI group with their report on the situation. He said Gebru’s article “did not meet our post bar” because “it ignored too much relevant research.” He also said that Gebru’s terms included “revealing the identity of every person Megan and I had spoken to and consulted with as part of the document review and exact comments.”

“Considering Timnit’s role as a respected researcher and manager of our Ethical AI team, I’m sorry that Timnit has gotten to a point where she feels this way about the work we do,” he wrote. “I know we all genuinely share Timnit’s passion to make AI more equitable and inclusive.”

Neither Gebru, Dean, nor communications from Google responded to requests for comment, and many details regarding the exact progress of events, or the reason for the termination, remain unclear. As they emerge, many have drawn renewed attention to a tweet from November 30 that Gebru pinned to the top of his profile. “Is there anyone working on a regulation protecting ethical AI researchers, similar to protecting whistleblowers?” it reads. “Because with the degree of censorship and intimidation against people belonging to specific groups, how can we believe that real research in this area can take place?”



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