Google CEO Sundar Pichai apologizes for Timnit Gebru controversy

In light of artificial intelligence researcher Dr. Timnit Gebru’s  exit from Google  last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to staffers, obtained by Axios, saying the company would investigate “the circumstances that led up to Dr. Gebru’s departure, examining where we could have improved and led a more respectful process.”

Last week, Gebru said she was fired from the company after sending an email to her direct reports discussing how she was disappointed in her organization’s approach to DEI as well as the approval process around her research paper. Gebru sent that email after Google did not grant her permission to attach her and her colleagues names to an AI ethics paper about language models. Gebru had previously sent her superiors an email, detailing that if they would not meet her specific conditions she would prepare to leave. Google proceeded to tell her it accepted her resignation and cut off her access to her work email.

In Pichai’s memo, he said the company needs to “accept responsibility for the fact that a prominent Black, female leader with immense talent left Google unhappily.” He also noted how it’s had a “ripple effect” through underrepresented communities at Google.

Google declined to remark however affirmed the update is genuine. You can peruse the full update on Axios.

Pichai’s notice comes a few days after in excess of 2,000 Googlers and a large number of different allies marked a letter remaining with Gebru.

“Rather than being held onto by Google as an incredibly skilled and productive giver, Dr. Gebru has confronted preventiveness, bigotry, gaslighting, research oversight, and now a retaliatory terminating,” they composed. “In an email to Dr. Gebru’s group on the night of December 2, 2020, Google chiefs asserted that she had decided to leave. This is bogus. In their immediate correspondence with Dr. Gebru, these heads educated her that her end was prompt, and highlighted an email she shipped off a Google Brain variety and incorporation mailing list as appearance.”

They proceeded to request the individuals who were associated with concluding how to treat Dr. Gebru’s paper meet with the Ethical AI group to clarify what occurred. They additionally requested more noteworthy straightforwardness around the dynamic, just as a responsibility from Google Research to explore trustworthiness and scholarly opportunity.

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