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Google changes diversity and research guidelines after the launch of Timnit Gebru



Google changes its research and diversity policies after completing an internal investigation into the dismissal of ethical AI team leader Timnit Gebru, according to Axios. The company intends to link the salaries of certain managers to the goals of diversity and inclusion. It also makes changes in how sensitive employee outputs are managed.

Although Google did not disclose the results of the investigation, the changes appear to be a direct response to how the situation with Gebru went down. After Google demanded that an article she co-authored be withdrawn, Gebru told the research team that she would resign from her position and work on a transition plan, unless certain conditions were met. Instead of a transitional plan, the company immediately terminated her employment while on vacation. This triggered backlash from members of her team, and even caused some Google engineers to stop protesting.

Google had claimed that Gebru̵

7;s paper was not delivered properly, even though the research team disagreed. Google has now said it will “streamline the process of publishing research,” according to Axios, but the exact details of the policy changes were not provided.

In an internal email to staff, Jeff Dean, Head of AI at Google, wrote:

I heard and acknowledged what Dr. Gebru’s output meant to female technologists, to those in black society and other underrepresented groups who pursue careers in technology, and to many who care deeply about Google’s responsible use of AI. It made someone ask questions about their place here, something I regret.

He also apologized for how Gebru’s exit was handled, although he stopped calling it a shooting.

The policy changes come a day after Google restructured its AI teams, a change that members of the ethical AI team were “the last to know about”, according to researcher Alex Hanna, who is part of the team.

Google declined to share the updated policy with The Verge, instead of pointing Axioshis article for details.




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