Google has fired a prominent researcher at the company, Timnit Gebru after it criticized the latter’s approach to hiring minorities and bias within existing AI systems.
The American computer scientist and technical director of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence team said, in a tweet, she posted on Twitter, that she was “fired because of an email she sent a day ago to a group that includes company employees, in which she criticized the company’s treatment of minority employees, and stressed that she received treatment.” Constantly inhuman. ”
Apparently my manager’s manager sent an email my direct reports saying she accepted my resignation. I hadn’t resigned—I had asked for simple conditions first and said I would respond when I’m back from vacation. But I guess she decided for me 🙂 that’s the lawyer speak.
— Timnit Gebru (@timnitGebru) December 3, 2020
The expert, of Eritrean origin, expressed her frustration with Google’s responses to its efforts with others to increase employment of minorities, and drew attention to “bias” in artificial intelligence, such as the bias in facial recognition programs against “people of color.”
In an interview, on Thursday, with “Bloomberg” the researcher also said that Jeff Dean, head of Google’s artificial intelligence division, had fired her because of an email she sent to researchers on the artificial intelligence team of the company known as “Google Brain.”
According to Bloomberg, Gibro wrote in her letter: “Stop writing your documents because it will not make a difference, as there is no way to achieve anything.”
Groups inside and outside the company announced their support for Gibro, which is known for its influential research on facial recognition bias, by launching a petition that collected more than 400 signatures from the company’s employees, and more than 500 academic and industry figures.