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Canada Google summoned to explain itself after the dismissal of a black researcher

12:55  05 december  2020
12:55  05 december  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Hundreds of Google staff have signed a letter backing a leading AI ethics researcher who was sacked by Google . Timnit Gebru says she was fired after She is well-known for her work on racial bias in technology such as facial recognition, and has criticised systems that fail to recognise black faces.

Google ’s star AI ethics researcher , one of a few Black women in the field, says she was fired for a critical email. Timnit Gebru, who has criticized the company’s lack of diversity, emailed co-workers that she felt “constantly dehumanized." Her managers, she said, abruptly fired her shortly after .

Le siège californien de Google à Mountain View. © AP - Marcio Jose Sanchez The California headquarters of Google in Mountain View.

More than 1,200 Google employees and more than 1,500 academics and members of civil society asked this Friday, December 4 for an explanation from the American digital giant about the dismissal of a black researcher working on related ethical issues to artificial intelligence.

Her superiors accepted her resignation, except that she never gave it. This is what Timnit Gebru tweeted on Wednesday. The case, she explains, follows her complaint to an internal Google group that the Californian firm "silences marginalized voices".

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Prominent AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru alleges that her firing from Google is an act of Wired reports that artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru alleges that last month she was She checks all the boxes to file the mega lawsuit against Google : - Black -Female -In Tech!

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According to Timnit Gebru, Google criticized him for certain “aspects” of the email sent to this internal group, which would be “in contradiction with what is expected of a manager at Google”.

According to American public radio NPR, the researcher also told this group that she had been ordered to retract a scientific article on the possible use of artificial intelligence to imitate hateful or biased comments.

Academic freedom

Justifying the request for retraction in an email made public, the head of Google's artificial intelligence department, Jeff Dean, explained that the article had not reached the required levels for publication. Too late, this dismissal has already caused an uproar.

In addition to explanations for this article, the more than 2,700 signatories of the petition posted on Thursday demand an “unequivocal” commitment from Google to respect scientific integrity and academic freedom.

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Presence of black people in AI

Activist in favor of more diversity, Timnit Gebru co-founded the group “Black in AI”, whose objective is to increase the presence of black people in the field of 'artificial intelligence.

An Ethiopian-American, she has notably studied the propensity of facial recognition technologies to misidentify people of color.

His dismissal comes as Google was summoned on Wednesday by a US federal agency to respond to charges of surveillance against its militant employees.

To read also: American justice launches its offensive against Google

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