Google Fires Ethics Expert From Its Artificial Intelligence Division | WABNEWS

Google fired scientist Margaret Mitchell on Friday, both the company and the expert said, in a move that fueled the company’s divisions over academic freedom and diversity that were already public since the December firing of another ethics researcher from the Artificial Intelligence division of the tech giant, Timnit Gebru. Google said in a statement that Mitchell violated the company’s code of conduct and security policies by moving electronic files outside the company. Mitchell, who announced his firing on Twitter, did not respond to a request for comment. Google’s ethics of AI work has come under scrutiny since the firing of Gebru, a scientist who gained prominence for exposing bias in analytics systems for facial recognition. The firing prompted thousands of Google workers to protest. She and Mitchell had called for greater diversity and inclusion among Google’s research staff and expressed concern that the company was beginning to censor documents critical to its products. Gebru said Google fired her after she questioned an order not to publish a study saying that AI that mimics language could harm underserved populations. Mitchell, a co-author of the article, publicly criticized the company for firing Gebru and undermining the credibility of his work. The couple for about two years had co-led the ethical Artificial Intelligence team, started by Mitchell. Will Australia’s dispute with Facebook and Google impact other countries? The dispute between the Australian government with Google and Facebook has sparked interest around the world. Google AI research director Zoubin Ghahramani and a lawyer for the company informed Mitchell’s team of his firing on Friday in a meeting called at the last minute, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person said little explanation was given for the firing. Google declined to comment. The company said Mitchell’s firing followed disciplinary recommendations from investigators and a review committee. He said his violations “included the leakage of confidential company documents and private data of other employees.” The investigation began on January 19. Google employee Alex Hanna said on Twitter that the company was running a “smear campaign” against Mitchell and Gebru, with whom it worked closely. Google declined to comment on Hanna’s comments. France imposes a million dollar fine on Google for hotel classification Authorities note that Google has modified its hotel classification practices since September 2019. Google has recruited top scientists with promises of research freedom, but the limits are being tested as they Researchers increasingly write about the negative effects of technology and offer unflattering perspectives on their employer’s products. Reuters reported exclusively in December that Google introduced a new “sensitive topics” review last year to ensure that documents on topics such as the oil industry and content recommendation systems would not put the company in legal or regulatory trouble. Mitchell publicly expressed concern that the policy could lead to censorship. Google reiterated to researchers in a note and at a meeting on Friday that it was working to improve the pre-release review of the documents. He also announced new policies Friday to handle sensitive departures and evaluate executives based on team diversity and inclusion.

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