They both said that Alphabet’s Google fired employee scientist Margaret Mitchell on Friday, a move that sparked differences in the company’s academic freedom and diversity, since it fired AI in December. This divergence has been unfolding since Timnit Gebru, an ethics researcher.
Google said in a statement that Mitchell violated the company’s code of conduct and security policies by transferring electronic files outside the company.Mitchell announced the shooting Twitter, Did not respond to a request for comment.
Since the dismissal of Gebru’s scientists, Google’s ethics in AI work has been under scrutiny. Gavru has attracted much attention for exposing the bias in the facial analysis system. The dismissal prompted thousands of Google employees to protest. She and Mitchell called for greater diversity and inclusion among Google researchers, and expressed concern that the company began reviewing papers critical of its products.
Gebru said that Google only fired her after questioning an order that did not publish a study publicly saying that artificial intelligence that mimics language may harm marginalized people. The co-author of the paper, Mitchell, publicly criticized the company for firing Gebru and damaging the credibility of her work.
The two jointly led the moral AI team founded by Mitchell.
A person familiar with the matter said that Google’s AI research director Zoubin Ghahramani and a company lawyer informed Mitchell’s team of her dismissal at a short meeting on Friday. . The person stated that no explanation was given for the dismissal. Google declined to comment.
The company stated that Mitchell’s dismissal was based on disciplinary recommendations from investigators and review committees. It said her infringements “included the disclosure of confidential business sensitive documents and other employees’ private data.” The investigation began on January 19.
Google employee Alex Hanna said on Twitter that the company is conducting a “smear campaign” against Mitchell and Gebru and working closely with her. Google declined to comment on Hannah’s remarks.
Google recruited top scientists with a commitment to research freedom, but as researchers increasingly talked about the negative effects of technology and offered unrealistic views on the products of their employers, these limitations were put to the test.
Reuters exclusively reported in December that Google introduced new “sensitive topics” reviews last year to ensure that papers on topics such as the oil industry and content recommendation systems do not put the company into legal or regulatory dilemmas. Mitchell publicly expressed concern that the policy may lead to censorship.
Google reiterated to researchers in a memo and meeting on Friday that Google is working hard to improve the review of papers before publication. It also announced a new policy on Friday to handle sensitive departures and evaluate executives based on the diversity and inclusion of the team.
Thomson Reuters 2021 ©