Following a series of firings at Google of employees who wrote a paper review and questioned the tech giant’s diversity practices, the company’s research manager, Samy Bengio, quit.
Bengio’s resignation came after the departure of Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell, two high-profile female researchers in ethical AI. Gebru is Black and Mitchell is white, the Daily Dot reported.
In December, Gebru got fired for standing up to management who disagreed with the research paper she co-wrote on Google’s algorithmic bias, she said. (The company denied this and said she resigned.)
Mitchell got fired soon after for “multiple violations,” however, the former scientist said on Twitter that she was trying “to raise concerns about race & gender inequity, and speak up about Google’s problematic firing of Dr. Gebru.”
Both women reported to Bengio.
When news broke that Gebru was departing, Bengio said, “I have always been and will remain a strong supporter of her scientific work to make sure that AI becomes a positive force for the minoritized, as well as her generosity and tireless actions to lift the voices of the silenced ones,” he wrote.
“I’ve learned so much with all of you, in terms of machine learning research of course, but also on how difficult yet important it is to organize a large team of researchers as to promote long term ambitious research, exploration, rigor and diversity and inclusion,” he continued, Business Insider reported.
Bengio had been employed at Google since 2007, and he is one of the few employees who has worked for the company for more than a decade.
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