Story in Brief:
Dr. Margaret Mitchell was removed from her post as the founder and co-lead of the Google AI ethics unit, following the previous removal of co-lead Timnit Gebru. The ethics group was formed to lead research into techniques for ensuring that Google’s AI technology is used in an unbiased fashion. Dr. Mitchell’s removal fits the trend of Google firing employees who shine a light on its mismanagement of AI issues. Google has been criticised for lacking a diverse workforce, and these worries have bled into concerns over its AI technologies and the potential biases they hold.
The company’s previous removal of Timnit Gebru in December has been met with scrutiny. Her departure followed a co-authored research paper which she claims was heavily redacted. The paper pinpointed flaws in Google AI systems. This included AI language technology for which warnings of racial and gender biases have been raised.
With growing concerns over the social impact and governance of large companies and corporations, how long can Google side-step allegations of racially biased AI systems and a minimally diverse work-force? The scientific community has been questioning the ethics of conducting research for big technology companies. Where does this incident fall within the debate?
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