Google is reorganizing its responsible AI teams in the wake of the Timnit Gebru firing. The ethical AI team will now roll up to Marian Croak, a prominent black leader in the engineering department. Croak will also oversee employees who are focused on engineering products, according to Bloomberg. She will report to Jeff Dean, who leads the company’s AI efforts.
The ethical AI team was not aware of the reorganization until the news came on Wednesday night.
The change is an attempt to stabilize the department, which has been in turmoil for several months, Bloomberg reports. In December, Timnit Gebru, leader of the ethical AI team, announced that she was abruptly fired. The following month, the company began investigating counterpart Margaret Mitchell, who had used a script to go through her emails to look for examples of discrimination against Gebru. Mitchell now says she has been barred from her business accounts for more than five weeks.
Prior to her dismissal, Gebru had tried to publish an article on the dangers of large language processing models. Megan Kacholia, vice president of Google Research, asked her to pull out the paper. Gebru pushed back and said that the company needed to be more transparent about the publishing process. Shortly afterwards, she was fired.
The ethical AI team published a six-page letter in the wake of Gebru̵
Now the team can get their wish. As part of the reorganization, Kacholia will no longer lead the ethical AI researchers, according to Bloomberg. It is not clear what this means for Margaret Mitchell, who is still being investigated by the company.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge.