Google has apparently sacked its Ethical AI team’s founder and co-head, Margaret Mitchell.
This comes after she was banned from her work accounts for weeks because of an investigation into Mitchell’s objections to the controversial dismissal of her co-lead colleague Timnit Gebru.
I am fired.
– MMitchell (@mmitchell_ai) February 19, 2021
According to a Google spokesperson, Mitchell’s investigation concerned the alleged sharing of internal company files:
Our security systems automatically lock an employee’s corporate account if they discover that the account is compromised due to a credential problem or if an automated rule for handling sensitive data has been triggered. In this case, our systems discovered yesterday that one account was exfiltrating thousands of files and sharing them with multiple external accounts. We explained this to the employee earlier today.
The shooting of Timnit Gebru caused shock waves across the AI community. It has been widely viewed as a step in eliminating dissenting voices when those voices, world-renowned ethicists specifically hired to investigate and monitor the ethical development and use of Google’s AI systems, don’t say what the company wants to hear.
Meg Mitchell, leader of the Ethical AI team, has been fired. She received an email on her personal email. After locking her out for 5 weeks.
There are many words that I can say right now. Glad to know people don’t fall for one of their cops.
To the Google Vice-Presidents, I pity you.
– Timnit Gebru (@timnitGebru), February 19, 2021
Details are yet to come, but it appears Mitchell was fired as a result of the Google investigation.
Update 2:38 p.m. PST February 19: Google’s official statement on the matter according to this Axios article:
“After reviewing the conduct of this manager, we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our Code of Conduct and our security policies, including the exfiltration of confidential business-related documents and other employees’ private data.”
Published on February 19, 2021 – 22:26 UTC