Google has dismissed one of its top artificial intelligence researchers, Margaret Mitchell. This, in turn, has escalated internal turmoil at the company following the departure of Timnit Gebru, another leading light on Google’s AI ethics team, showing all is not well at one of the worlds largest tech companies.
In a statement, Google said an investigation found Margaret Mitchell had moved files outside the company. This warranted a reason for her sacking. The ethics unit has been under scrutiny since December 2020, especially after both Gebru and Mitchell had campaigned for more diversity at Google and raised concerns about censorship within the company.
Mitchell announced the news in a tweet that simply read “I’m fired.” For the past five weeks, she had been locked out of Google’s systems, including her emails and calendars. Gebru said Google fired her after she questioned an order not to publish a paper claiming AI that mimics language that could hurt marginalised populations.
Google has been criticised for a lack of diversity in its workforce, and there are concerns about the AI technology that underpins many of its services.
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