What a Scandal at Google Says About the Future of AI

A building at Google’s campus in Mountain View, California, Sept. 24, 2019 (AP photo by Jeff Chiu).
A building at Google’s campus in Mountain View, California, Sept. 24, 2019 (AP photo by Jeff Chiu).
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Earlier this month, Timnit Gebru, the co-leader of a team of researchers at Google specializing in the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, was unceremoniously ousted from her position. Some of the circumstances that led to her departure are disputed, but Gebru—a Black woman in a field that is overwhelmingly white and male—claims she was forced out for drawing unwelcome attention to the lack of diversity in Google’s workforce. She also claims she was “silenced” for her refusal to retract a paper that she had co-authored on ethical problems associated with certain types of AI models that are central to Google’s […]

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