'I pity you': After Timnit Gebru, Google fires top AI researcher Margaret Mitchell

WION Web Team
Silicon Valley Published: Feb 20, 2021, 09:47 AM(IST)

Google Photograph:( AFP )

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Margaret Mitchell, a lead artificial intelligence ethics researcher, took to Twitter to announce the termination of her employment with Google

Following the controversy around the 'unjust' dismissal of a prominent Black researcher, the tech giant Google has fired yet another member of the company's AI ethics team.

Margaret Mitchell, a lead artificial intelligence ethics researcher, took to Twitter to announce the termination of her employment with Google.

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"I'm fired.," she wrote on Twitter, which followed several messages against Google's decision. 

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"This manager's conduct, we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct, as well as of our security policies, which included the exfiltration of confidential business-sensitive documents and private data of other employees," Google was quoted by the news agency AFP.

Mitchell has been fired, as per Google, due to her illegal activities which were causing danger for the security of the tech giant's data. She was suspended last month after she was caught downloading and sharing company documents related to the discriminatory treatment of Timnit Gebru.

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Her termination has come a few days after she penned down a letter to Google raising questions about the 'unjust' firing of her colleague. 

"The firing of Dr. Timnit Gebru is not okay, and the way it was done is not okay.  It appears to stem from the same lack of foresight that is at the core of modern technology, and so itself serves as an example of the problem," she wrote in the letter. 

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"The firing seems to have been fueled by the same underpinnings of racism and sexism that our AI systems, when in the wrong hands, tend to soak up," she added.

Gebru was apparently fired by Google but the company portrayed it as a resignation. The researcher claimed that she was told her resignation has been accepted even though she had not served one to the company.

The controversy regarding her treatment has raised many questions regarding the work environment of big tech companies, especially for minority groups and women.

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