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Google engineers quit company following controversial exit of top AI ethicist

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Google has lost some talent because of the way it has handled and departure from his former researcher in AI ethics, Dr Timnit Gebru. According to ReutersCTO David Baker left the tech giant last month after 16 years with the company. In a letter seen by the news agency, Baker said that Gebru’s exit “has died out. [his] desire to continue as Googler. He added: “We cannot say that we believe in diversity and then ignore the glaring absence of many voices within our walls. “

Software engineer Vinesh Kannan, who built the infrastructure and functionality for organic purchases on the website, has also left the company. Kannan explained in a tweet that he made his decision because “Google’s mistreatment of @timnitGebru and @RealAbril (April Christina Curley) crossed a personal red line.”

Timnit Gebru co-led Google’s ethical artificial intelligence team until its controversial release. Gebru said she was fired after sending an email to the company’s internal “Brain Women and Allies” list. In a report trying to get to the bottom of what happened MIT Technology Journal said Gebru’s departure was the result of a dispute over an article she co-wrote. The paper addressed issues related to linguistic AI training, including its environmental impact and its potential to disadvantage marginalized groups.

Google chief AI officer Jeff Dean reportedly told colleagues in an internal email that the newspaper “did not respond [the company’s] bar for publication. Gebru apparently rejected orders to withdraw the research and told the tech giant she would step down if her conditions were not met. She wrote on Twitter that Google had not accepted her terms and accepted her resignation, terminating her employment much earlier than the date she specified and even before she returned from vacation.

As for Curley, she was a diversity recruiter who said she was fired for calling Google “on [its] racist bullshit. Gebru and Curley are both black women. Google said The edge he does not agree with the “way April describes her dismissal, but it is not appropriate for [the company] to provide a commentary on his claims.

Gebru’s exit sparked an uproar, prompting thousands of Googlers, as well as supporters from academia, industry and civil society to sign a letter calling on Google Research “to strengthen its commitment to research integrity and to make an unequivocal commitment to supporting research that respects the commitments made in Google’s AI principles”. The Google Ethics AI team also required the retirement of Megan Kacholia, vice president of engineering at Google, and for the reinstatement of Gebru in a more senior position. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google apologized for how the company handled his departure in an internal email and pledged to investigate what happened to “identify all the points where [the company] can learn. “

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