Second ethics researcher fired from Google

The web giant accuses him of having exfiltrated sensitive data. In return, she accuses Google of having forced her to retract on search results.

Margaret Mitchell, who founded Google’s Ethics and Artificial Intelligence research team, was “trip“, She announced Friday on Twitter, which had already earned criticism at the technology giant. “After reviewing this manager’s behavior, we confirmed that there were multiple breaches of our Code of Conduct, as well as our security regulations, including the exfiltration of sensitive confidential documents and data. private on other employees“, A spokesperson for the Californian group told AFP.

In January, Margaret Mitchell was denied access to her professional account, weeks after the dismissal of a member of her team, Timnit Gebru. “These are attacks on people who are trying to make Google’s technology more ethical», Reacted a spokesperson for the Alphabet Workers Union.

Google accuses the researcher in ethics and artificial intelligence for having downloaded a large number of documents related to her former colleague and then having shared them with outsiders. But the company faces criticism as Margaret Mitchell accuses the company of forcing it to retract on search results.

Under his Friday tweet – “I was fired– messages of support abounded. “I guess that means ethical AI has no place in a capitalist societyCommented Chelsea Manning, the former military analyst who was convicted of treason after transmitting classified documents to WikiLeaks.

On January 19, two days before her suspension, the computer scientist publicly criticized the group’s executive director, Sundar Pichai, on the subject of racism. “Let’s say you have a problem because you keep alienating black women and causing them great harm.She tweeted over a link to a CNN article titled “Google boss meets with black university leaders after racism accusations». «You can: A) try to right your wrongs; B) try to find more black people to like you (the token and superficial approach). Good luck…».

By December, more than 1,400 Google employees and nearly 2,000 others had signed a letter calling on the company to explain why Timnit Gebru was fired and why it had to retract. They also asked Alphabet to commit “unequivocal»In favor of research integrity and academic freedom.

On Thursday, Google announced that Marian Croak, an African-American vice president of the group, had created “a new center of expertise on responsible AIWithin the search arm of Google. According to the press release, she will be responsible for “ensure that Google develops AI responsibly and that technology has a positive impact».

Algorithms are accused by many associations of having perverse effects in different areas if they are not well calibrated, for example in terms of discrimination against minorities. “There are a lot of conflicts right now in this area (AI, editor’s note), and it can be divisive at times“, Admitted Marian Croak in the press release. “What I would like is to make these conversations more diplomatic, perhaps, so that we can really make progress.»


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