A group of Google employees calls for stronger laws to protect critical AI researchers9. March 2021
A group of Google employees calls for stronger laws to protect critical AI researchers
New York, 3/9/2021
In a letter released today, Google Walkout for Change called Google’s decision to fire two ethical AI researchers an issue of “urgent public interest.”
The letter calls for more protections so researchers and tech employees can “name harmful technology when they see it.” It says the goal is to prevent “the worst abuses of the private companies that create these technologies.
In addition, the group criticizes that “too many institutions of higher education are inextricably linked to funding Google (and other big tech companies).”
Background: Following the firings of Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru, who co-led the ethical AI team, Google Research executives recently discussed ways to improve the company’s reputation.
Tensions flared at the company after Gebru, a prominent black AI researcher, was fired in December after refusing to take her name off a controversial paper dealing with language-generating AI that could have been bad for Google.
Google has since announced a restructuring of its responsible AI efforts, which includes Engineering VP Marian Croak overseeing “a new center of excellence” for responsible AI technology development. Croak, a black Google executive, will report directly to AI chief Jeff Dean