When it comes to artificial intelligence, Google and ethics don’t seem to mix.
The tech giant is back in the news this week after Margaret Mitchell, who served as head of Google’s Ethical AI team until Friday, announced her layoff via Twitter. Mitchell quickly follows on the heels of Google after Google found prominent AI ethicist Dr. Timnit Gebru has fired.
“I’m fired,” wrote Mitchell in her brief statement.
We reached out to Google to confirm that Mitchell was indeed fired on Friday and to ask why she was fired. We did not receive an immediate response.
In particular, the departures of Mitchell and Dr. Gebru seem very closely related. Mitchell had seen Google’s actions against Dr. Gebru publicly criticized and called them “something very wrong”.
Entering the fifth week of being banned from work after seeing something very wrong directed to @timnitGebru by my supervisors.
Exhausted from endless deterioration to save the face of the upper crust in tech at the expense of minority minorities’ lifelong careers.
– MMitchell (@mmitchell_ai) February 15, 2021
Mitchell went on to write that the company banned her from her work accounts following her criticism of Google in January. According to Axios, Google did so after it was discovered that Mitchell was using “automated scripts” to search for examples of discrimination against Dr. Look for Gebru.
I am concerned about @ timnitGebru’s firing from Google and its relationship with sexism and discrimination. I wanted to pass the email I wrote to Google Press on the day my access was blocked. Http://t.co/O7JPlqJW8L
– MMitchell (@mmitchell_ai) February 5, 2021
The dismissal of Dr. Gebru on December 2 came after an internal email addressing the shortage of women hired at Google, as well as an internal debate about one of her research papers.
Google confirmed Mitchell’s firing in a statement to TechCrunch.
SEE ALSO: Google paid a ton of money to Android inventor Andy Rubin after alleging sexual misconduct
“After reviewing the conduct of this manager, we confirmed that there have been multiple violations of our Code of Conduct and our security policies, including the exfiltration of confidential business-related documents and other employees’ private data.”
Google has not always responded as harshly to suspected Code of Conduct violations. In 2018, Google hit the news when the New York Times reported that the company paid Andy Rubin, the inventor of Android, around $ 90 million on his way to the door following allegations of sexual misconduct.