Two more AI ethics researchers follow Timnit Gebru out of Google

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta February 3, 2022
Updated 2022/02/03 at 12:06 AM

Google has lost two prominent members of its Ethical AI research group, reports . On Wednesday, researcher Alex Hanna and software engineer Dylan Baker left the company to join Timnit Gebru’s team. . Gebru founded the nonprofit in December following his controversial departure from the tech giant in .

Until the end of that year, Gebru was one of the co-leaders of Google’s Ethical AI research group. After posting a the company said it did not meet its publishing standard, Gebru claims that Google fired her. The company, however, stated that she resigned. In February 2021, several employees protested Google’s handling of the situation. Later that same month, the company fired , the other co-leader of the Ethical AI research group. Hanna and Baker told Bloomberg the layoffs weighed heavily on them, and that they wanted to work with Gebru again.

“I’m giving up because I’m tired,” Hanna wrote in the after announcing your departure from the company. The post is, in many ways, a call to action. “In a word, technology has a whiteness problem. Google is not just a technology organization. Google is a white technology organization,” writes Hanna. “More specifically, technology organizations are committed to defending whiteness through ‘interrelated practices, processes, actions and meanings’, the organization’s techniques of reproduction. In this case, that means defending your recruitment, tiering and monetization policies.”

The post also touches on the role at the heart of Gebru’s dismissal from the company. Hanna says Jeff Dean, head of Google’s AI division, about the robustness of the company’s publishing process was “laughable.” She points to the analysis of the group published in 2020. “Google management remained silent when an article on the Google Walkout page pointed out that there were many counterexamples, as nearly half of the documents in the system were approved within a day or less of the deadline,” Hanna said.

Hanna and Baker told Bloomberg they also believe that Google has become less willing to listen to employees in recent years. They specifically pointed to the company’s pursuit of the past and the very public objections of its workers.

“We appreciate the contributions of Alex and Dylan – our research on responsible AI is incredibly important and we continue to expand our work in this area in line with our AI principles,” a Google spokesperson told Ploonge. “We are also committed to building a company where people from different points of view, backgrounds and experiences can do their best work and show each other.”

All products recommended by Ploonge are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *