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Google fires research leaders in the dispute over diversity and research freedom

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File Photo: Google’s sign appears on October 20, 2020 in one of its office buildings in Irvine, California, USA. REUTERS / MikeBlake / File Photo

(Reuters)-Alphabet Incs Google fired researcher Margaret Mitchell on Friday, they both said she had moved electronic files out of the company in the fight for research freedom and diversity. I found.

Google said in a statement that Mitchell violated the company’s code of conduct and security policy. Mitchell, who announced his dismissal on Twitter, did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

Google’s ethics at the Artificial Intelligence Research Unit have been scrutinized since the dismissal of black scientist Timnit Gebru in December. This has protested thousands of Google workers. She and Caucasian Mitchell called for the diversity of Google’s research staff and expressed concern that the company was beginning to censor research that was critical of its products.

Gebru said Google fired her after questioning an order not to publish a treatise claiming that language-mimicking AI could hurt people left out of society.

Mitchell and Gebru co-led the ethics of the artificial intelligence team for almost two years.

Google AI research director Zoubin Ghahramani and the company’s legal representative have informed the Mitchells team that she was fired at a meeting called in a hurry on Friday, a person familiar with the matter said. The person said there was little explanation for the dismissal. Google declined to comment.

Google employee Alex Hannah said on Twitter that she is running a slander campaign against Mitchell and Gebble, who worked closely with her.

Google didn’t immediately comment on those claims. The statement said of Mitchell: We have identified multiple violations of the Code of Conduct and security policies, including the disclosure of confidential business documents and personal data of other employees.

Google has hired top-notch scientists who promise research freedom, but limits are tested as researchers write more and more about the negative effects of technology and provide an unpleasant perspective on employers’ products.

Report by Palais Dave and Jeffrey Dustin; edited by Cynthia Osterman

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