Google fires Margaret Mitchell, co-lead of its Ethical AI team

Joe White

Posts: 69   +0
Staff
A hot potato: Google has fired Margaret Mitchell—the co-lead of the company’s Ethical AI team—due to allegations of misconduct. Mitchell, a research scientist, joined Google in 2016 but had been placed on investigation in relation to the dismissal of another member of her team, Timnit Gebru.

Last December, Gebru was fired from Google after she tried to be outspoken about unethical AI. This prompted some 225 Google employees to club together to create a union, in the hope of preventing further unfair dismissal and protecting employee rights. Mitchell was a member of said union, but that hasn’t stopped Google finding evidence of misconduct and firing her from the Ethical AI team.

Gebru’s departure from Google was controversial. It came after Mitchell and Gebru wrote a paper about the dangers of large language processing models. Megan Kacholia, vice president of Google Brain, reportedly asked for the article to be retracted. This lead to a standoff between Kacholia and Gebru, who argued that the company needed to be more open, transparent, and honest about why the technology could be dangerous.

Gebru lost the battle and was fired, although Google claimed she resigned.

Mitchell was openly critical of the move. Then in January, she lost access to corporate email when Google started investigating her activity. Google’s investigation found that Mitchell had moved files outside the company, and fired her for it.

In a statement provided to Axios, Google said: “After conducting a review of this manager’s conduct, we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct, as well as of our security policies, which included the exfiltration of confidential business-sensitive documents and private data of other employees.”

The company has also tweaked how it handles research, diversity, and employee exits following an internal investigation into Gebru’s departure.

Google announced that Marian Croak, a vice president in the engineering organization, is now responsible for keeping AI development on the straight-and-narrow. Croak has created and will lead “a new center of expertise on responsible AI within Google Research.” Whether Croak and her team will be truly free to question the company’s actions, however, remains to be seen.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,035   +5,643
Corporations have been ruled as "people" because they are essentially democratic (people vote with their feet and their money)

But radical corporatism is ultimately a form of fascism. It's one of the main tenets of Fascism.

The combined powers of international corporations with radical corporatism become "a new government"

A Fascist government.

If you don't understand: You need to watch Robocop 1, 2 and 3 and Starship Troopers. Babylon 5 as well.

I saw this all coming since I was a kid.
 

bviktor

Posts: 428   +744
The thing is, you can't bypass company policies, even if you work in the ethical team. This person definitely seems the entitled one here.
 

brucek

Posts: 812   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
Google has tens of thousands of employees, many smart, passionate, and opinionated. Of course they don't always agree with each other, and it should not be surprising that each of them is not allowed to publish their own individual opinions under the Google logo.
 

Gollum22

Posts: 19   +14
I'm surprised google cares about ethics, we all know the truth, they want to put microchips in our head to read our thoughts and send targeted advertising to our brain directly

No need to stop there when we could be as mentally helpless and dependent as the humans from Wall-E
 

terzaerian

Posts: 960   +1,399
A company whose algorithms are basically at war with YouTube creators firing people who are warning about the ramifications of AI

Nothing to see here
 

Ludak021

Posts: 472   +352
A company whose algorithms are basically at war with YouTube creators firing people who are warning about the ramifications of AI

Nothing to see here

edit: never mind, I misread your comment, no delete button for posts so I could only edit.
 

OortCloud

Posts: 615   +479
Quietly dropping the 'Don't be Evil' slogan a few years back says it all... When your entire business model is to scrape as much information from unwitting members of the public and sell it to the highest bidder without their consent or knowledge, I guess they had no choice.
 

DonquixoteIII

Posts: 89   +51
Seems that too many of Google's top end are graduates of Trump's School of Management. Hey Google - What happens when you surround yourself with yesmen? No one will tell you that you are running a train wreck until after the fact. Then everyone will start pointing fingers..

Bad idea, google...
 

eforce

Posts: 230   +262
Corporations have been ruled as "people" because they are essentially democratic (people vote with their feet and their money)

But radical corporatism is ultimately a form of fascism. It's one of the main tenets of Fascism.

The combined powers of international corporations with radical corporatism become "a new government"

A Fascist government.

If you don't understand: You need to watch Robocop 1, 2 and 3 and Starship Troopers. Babylon 5 as well.

I saw this all coming since I was a kid.

Fascism is the merger of corporations and the state.
 

Porkous

Posts: 136   +42
Sounds to me like collective drama
AFAIK the technology is not even available fully.
 
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