By: The Guardian

December 4, 2020

More than 1,200 Google employees and more than 1,500 academic researchers are speaking out in protest after a prominent Black scientist studying the ethics of artificial intelligence said she was fired by Google after the company attempted to suppress her research and she criticized its diversity efforts.

Timnit Gebru, who was the technical co-lead of Google’s Ethical AI team, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that she had been fired after sending an email to an internal group for women and allies working in the company’s AI unit.

The email, which was first published by the tech newsletter Platformer, referenced a dispute over a research paper, but more broadly expressed frustration at Google’s diversity programs. In it, Gebru argued that “there is zero accountability” or real incentive for Google leadership to change. “Your life gets worse when you start advocating for underrepresented people, you start making the other leaders upset,” Gebru wrote. “There is no way more documents or more conversations will achieve anything.”