Google fires second AI ethics researcher

Google has fired another artificial intelligence (AI) ethics leader Margaret Mitchell who was the the co-lead of its Ethical AI team, following an investigation into her use of corporate email.

According to a report in Axios, Google fired Mitchell after she used an automated script to look through her emails in order to find evidence of discrimination against her coworker Timnit Gebru who was fired earlier.

“Mitchell also posted a tweet critical of Google’s handling of Gebru and a subsequent meeting between CEO Sundar Pichai and historically Black college and university leaders,” the report said on Friday.

Google said that in a statement that after conducting a review of Mitchell’s conduct, “we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct, as well as of our security policies, which included the exfiltration of confidential business-sensitive documents and private data of other employees.”

Mitchell’s firing came a day after Google hired a prominent Black executive Marian Croak to lead its new centre of expertise on responsible AI within Google Research.

The appointment came in the wake of the controversial firing of another Black executive Gebru who was the technical co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence team.

Gebru said in December that she was fired over an email where she expressed her doubts about Google’s commitment inclusion and diversity.