Timnit Gebru who is a top Google scientist on ethical artificial intelligence revealed that she was sacked by Google after she criticized the company over its diversity efforts but the company denied the claim.
Timnit Gebru who is a black woman, mentioned on Twitter that she was sacked on Wednesday after she sent an E-mail to her colleagues expressing her dissatisfaction over gender diversity within Google AI unit and questioned if Google’s top hierarchy reviewed her work more closely than other people of different background.
She also revealed that Google cut her off from its systems without any prior warning as regards her concerns.
The departure of Timnit Gebru is now added to a years of several firings and resignation in the AI and other organization at Google over the issue of diversity in the AI department.
She coauthored a paper on bias in facial analysis technology and in that paper she wrote that Google as well as other technological companies should do more to make sure that AI system mimicking human speech and writing should not exacerbate historical gender biases and use of foul language.
Meanwhile, head of Google AI unit, Jeff Dean said to staff in an email that Gebru had threatened to resign unless they revealed to her which staff deemed her draft paper unpublishable, a demand that Dean does not accept.
Dean said, “We accept and respect her decision to resign from Google,” Dean wrote in the email, adding, “we all genuinely share Timnit’s passion to make AI more equitable and inclusive.”
Gebru responded to Google’s rejection of her paper as she wrote, Nothing like a bunch of privileged White men trying to squash research by marginalized communities for marginalized communities by ordering them to STOP with ZERO conversation. The amount of disrespect is incredible.”
Google employees have expressed their support for Gebru, urging the tech company to allow academic freedom and offer explanation as to why they chose to censor her paper.
In Dean’s email to staff, he stated that the paper had not been submitted to the company for review in a timely fashion and was rather submitted to a conference without the permission of Google.