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Google ethical AI co-lead Timnit Gebru launches own research project

Gebru was ousted from Google after clashing with her bosses over a research paper

December 03, 2021 / 04:24 PM IST
(Image Courtesy- Getty Images via AFP/Kimberly White)

(Image Courtesy- Getty Images via AFP/Kimberly White)

Dr Timnit Gebru, artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and ex-co-lead at Google's ethical AI research team has started her own research institute, The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR).

In a press release, DAIR is described as, "an independent, community-rooted institute," that wants to, "counter Big Tech’s pervasive influence on the research, development and deployment of AI."

Also Read: Google scientist Dr Timnit Gebru's exit exposes rift in its ethical AI unit, head Jeff Dean faces criticism

Gebru was ousted from Google after a falling out with management over an email she had sent. She believes that the prospective harms that are embedded within AI technology can be prevented and, "when its production and deployment include diverse perspectives and deliberate processes, it can be put to work for people, rather than against them."

“AI needs to be brought back down to earth,” said Gebru in the press release.

“It has been elevated to a superhuman level that leads us to believe it is both inevitable and beyond our control. When AI research, development and deployment is rooted in people and communities from the start, we can get in front of these harms and create a future that values equity and humanity.”

Also Read: Google fires second AI ethics leader as dispute over research, diversity grows

The institute has received funding from the Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Kapoor Center and Open Society Foundation.

Speaking with The Washington Post (via TechCrunch), Gebru said that she had been, "frustrated for a long time about the incentive structures that we have in place and how none of them seem to be appropriate for the kind of work I want to do.”

“This is about doing the hard work necessary to guarantee that real accountability and fairness are baked into future AI projects, rather than as an after-thought,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations.
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first published: Dec 3, 2021 04:24 pm