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

Google is still facing backlash from the departure of its Ethical AI team.

What you need to know

  • Google's head of Ethical AI has been locked out of her corporate account.
  • The company is currently investigating her for sharing thousands of files with external sources.
  • These events continue Google's internal struggle with its team over how it handled the departure of former AI researcher, Timnit Gebru.

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:

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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