Google CEO slammed by AI ethics researcher for blaming public feud on transparency
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has credited the company’s transparency for the backlash over the firing of Timnit Gebru, earning a withering rebuke from the AI ethicist. Gebru her job in December after a dispute over a research paper she co-authored. Pichai had tried to quell the outrage by apologizing for her departure causing staff “to question their place at Google.”
Recently at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, Pichai said, "We are a lot more transparent than most other companies, and so you do see us in the middle of these issues. But I take it as a sign that we allow for debate to happen around this area. And 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."
Gebru later chastised his comments in a series of tweets. She called Pichai “a leader in gaslighting” and accused the company’s leadership team of creating “hostile work environments.” Gebru’s controversial exit surely got people talk about diversity and ethics at the company though she become a powerful symbol of the discontent, which will likely rumble on for many months to come.