Last month there was quite an uproar over Google reportedly firing an employee. Timnit Gebru, who worked as AI ethics researcher was asked to leave after a dispute over a research paper she had co-authored. The sacking of Gebru led to questions over diversity and ethics issues at Google. Recently, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked about the matter at the World Economic Forum and he said that Google is a lot more transparent than other companies. “We are a lot more transparent than most other companies, and so you do see us in the middle of these issues,” he said. Pichai said that “we need to get better as a company, we are committed to doing so, but I look at the state of how we approach this and I am confident about the effort we are putting into it and our commitment to do better here over time.”
Pichai’s remarks haven’t gone down well with Gebru, who in a series of tweets hit out at the Google CEO. At Davos @sundarpichai gets a question about me & he talks about how Google is a leader in AI ethics & how they “allow debate.” You are a leader in gaslighting…” she said in a tweet.
At Davos @sundarpichai gets a question about me & he talks about how Google is a leader in AI ethics & how they “al… https://t.co/gP6xdmV5Yf
— Timnit Gebru (@timnitGebru) 1611865454000
She further accused of being harassed at Google. “They lied, gaslit, subjected me to harassment, stalking, attacks online against me & team with close to ZERO Black ppl in this space at Google where ones who were there left one by one…[sic.]” she noted in another tweet.
Gebru posted a series of tweets about what all she had to go through and rebuffed Pichai’s claims of “allowing debate.” “But I understand how from your position of privilege you’d consider this “allowing debate”. Those used to treating Black women like trash and basking in their privilege would consider even having to answer this question from a reporter “debate.” These people are unreal, [sic.]” she further tweeted.
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