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Former Google AI researcher Timnit Gebru speaks in San Francisco, California in 2018 Former Google AI researcher Timnit Gebru speaks in San Francisco, California, Sept. 7, 2018 (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch).

What Google’s Firing of Researcher Timnit Gebru Means for AI Ethics

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020

Google sparked an uproar earlier this month when it dismissed Timnit Gebru, the co-leader of a team of researchers at the company studying the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. Google maintains that it accepted her “resignation,” but Gebru, who is Black, claims she was fired for drawing unwelcome attention to the lack of diversity in Google’s workforce. She had also been at loggerheads with her supervisors due to their request that she retract a paper she had co-authored on ethical problems associated with certain types of AI models that are central to Google’s business.

On the Trend Lines podcast this week, WPR’s Elliot Waldman was joined by Karen Hao, the senior AI reporter for MIT Technology Review, to discuss Gebru’s ouster and its implications for the increasingly important field of AI ethics. ...

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