Google Fires Founder of its Artificial Intelligence Ethics Program Amid “Sexism and Discrimination” Claims by Science & Tech News
Tech giant Google has fired the head of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics program, claiming it violated the rules for moving files outside of the company.
Margaret Mitchell tweeted that she was fired from the company on Friday. The move came a month after she spoke publicly about how her former colleague Timnit Gebru was fired.
In a statement, Google Ms. Mitchell’s violations “included the exfiltration of confidential business-related documents and other employees’ private data.” after an investigation last month.
Ms. Mitchell was reportedly banned from her work account for five weeks prior to her release, including her email and the company system.
Her colleague, Ms. Gebru, left Google late last year and said she was fired in a dispute over a research paper – but the company said she resigned.
Ms. Mitchell and Ms. Gebru, who jointly ran the company’s ethical AI team, had advocated diversity at Google and previously raised concerns about censorship within the company.
Ms Gebru gained notoriety after exposing bias in facial recognition systems and was apparently asked not to publish a study claiming that AI could harm marginalized groups.
Ms. Mitchell co-wrote the paper and said that by firing her colleague, Google had undermined the credibility of her work.
Ms. Mitchell was a frequent critic of Google’s handling of her former colleague’s dismissal, saying the company had an issue with sexism and discrimination.
Another Google employee, Alex Hanna, claimed on Twitter that the company was running a “smear campaign” against the two women they had previously worked with. Google declined to contact Dr. To express Hanna’s claims.
Employees were informed of the dismissal of Ms. Mitchell in a meeting held Friday morning by Google’s AI research director Zoubin Ghahramani and a company lawyer.
A source told Reuters news agency that little explanation was given for the dismissal. Google did not comment on the claims.
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