New York, April 7 2021: Samy Bengio, a machine learning specialist and lead researcher at Google’s AI department has resigned. This was confirmed by the tech giant on Tuesday. Her departure comes after two other team members were fired in controversial circumstances.
“While I am looking forward to my next challenge, there’s no doubt that leaving this wonderful team is really difficult,” Bengio wrote. She did not refer to Timnit Gebru or Margaret Mitchell, two former members of the team focused on ethical artificial intelligence who were fired by Google.
Mitchell, a lead researcher, following controversy last year over the tech giant’s dismissal of Gebru, an outspoken diversity advocate. Bengio had earlier expressed solidarity with Gebru in a message shared on Facebook. “I have always been and will remain a strong supporter of her scientific work to make sure that AI becomes a positive force for the minorities, as well as her generosity and tireless actions to lift the voices of the silenced ones,” Bengio said of Gebru in the post.
According to Google, Mitchell had downloaded and shared company documents to Axios, which reported that it was an effort to show discrimination in the treatment of Gebru, who was fired last year. In December, more than 1,400 Google employees demanded that the company explain why it dismissed Gebru.
Gebru had tweeted saying about Bengio, “It is sad to see this happening to the one director in the research org who was doing the right thing,”
Mitchell used Twitter to thank Bengio for supporting her and Gebru, and providing them an inclusive environment. “But once you ‘see’ sexism and racism, staying at an organization that stands by it becomes untenable,” Mitchell said in a tweet, predicting more members of her former team at Google would quit with lots of other options available in their field
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