Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence scientist at Google fired for her work on ethics research

Last week, a prominent co-leader of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence team at Google sent an email to her colleagues. Timnit Gebru had been working on a research paper that she hoped to publish, but ran into resistance from her superiors at Google. And so she sent a letter expressing her frustration to the internal listserv Google Brain Women and Allies.

A few days later, Gebru was fired — Google reportedly found the email “inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager.” It details the struggles Gebru experienced as a Black leader working on ethics research within the company and presents a bleak view of the path forward for underrepresented minorities at the company. […] CONTINUE READING

Timnit Gebru says the company abruptly fired her yesterday. The technical co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team claims managers were upset about an email she’d sent to colleagues. Gebru is famous for her work on algorithmic bias, particularly in facial recognition technology. In 2018, she co-authored a paper with Joy Buolamwini showing error rates for identifying darker-skinned people were far higher than the error rates for identifying white-skinned people, in part because the datasets used to train algorithms were overwhelmingly white. […] MORE AT THEVERGE.COM

The email Gebru sent to colleagues, according to a report by Casey Newton, stated that superiors suddenly asked her to retract a research paper, while presenting almost no information about what was wrong with it or chances to defend herself. In her email, she suggests this incident is part of a larger pattern at Google of paying lip-service to diversity without making actual changes, adding “There is no way more documents or more conversations will achieve anything.” […] MORE AT CNBC.COM

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