Google AI researcher’s exit sparks ethics, bias concerns

Google
This Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Prominent artificial intelligence scholar Timnit Gebru helped improve Google's public image as a company that elevates Black computer scientists and questions harmful uses of AI technology (Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez).

Artificial intelligence scholar Timnit Gebru helped improve Google’s public image as a company that elevates Black computer scientists and questions harmful uses of AI technology. But internally, Gebru, a leader in the field of AI ethics, was not shy about voicing doubts about those commitments. That’s until she was ousted this week in a dispute over a research paper examining the societal dangers of an emerging branch of AI. The furor over Gebru’s abrupt departure is the latest incident raising questions about whether Google has strayed so far away from its original “Don’t Be Evil” motto that it now routinely ousts employees who challenge management.