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Google’s internal drama continues as it investigates the head of Ethical AI

google’s-internal-drama-continues-as-it-investigates-the-head-of-ethical-ai

Margaret Mitchell, Google’s head of Ethical AI, is currently under investigation by the company, and has been locked out of her account. This follows Google’s recent drama surrounding Timnit Gebru, who used to co-head the team with Mitchell and was dismissed by the company due to disagreements over a research paper. Gebru recently called out Google on locking Mitchell out of her account, commenting on the company’s practices:

She’s not fired **yet**. But apparently they’ve told her she will be locked out for at least a few days. https://t.co/H1ibkgNQHM

— Timnit Gebru (@timnitGebru) January 20, 2021

In its defense, Google stated that it’s not deliberately targeting Mitchell, but instead, she was automatically locked due to its systems detecting certain security risks:

Our security systems automatically lock an employee’s corporate account when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered. In this instance, yesterday our systems detected that an account had exfiltrated thousands of files and shared them with multiple external accounts.

According to Axios, Mitchell was searching through her files for examples of discriminatory treatment towards Gebru in order to assist in her dispute with the company. She used an automated script to help her scour the documents.

Apparently, the treatment of Gebru is just one of many examples that lead to the recent formation of Google’s first worker’s union.

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