What the hell is going on at Google? WIRED reported another firing of one of its AI researchers but not in the same fashion as Timnit Gebru. The story started with Google AI researchers Anna Goldie and Azalia Mirhoseini who wrote a paper demonstrating how Google’s tensor processing units, or TPUs, could be used with AI software to improve that same AI hardware. But one senior researcher didn’t like it. At all:
Satrajit Chatterjee, a more senior researcher at Google, used the cover of scientific debate to undermine the women personally, the employees claim. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss company matters. Multiple complaints about Chatterjee’s behavior toward the women were made to Google’s personnel department, and he received a written warning, some employees said, but he continued to criticize the women’s results.
The conflict came to a head in March of this year, after Chatterjee sought permission from research managers to publish a public rebuttal of Mirhoseini and Goldie’s Nature study. A committee of senior executives formed to review that paper denied his request, saying its results did not refute the earlier work. The same month, Chatterjee was fired.
It’s one conflict after another. How am I or any person supposed to throw our support behind Google’s AI efforts when this kind of stuff keeps happening behind the scenes? Once again, the actions of senior Google employees has threatened the integrity and front-facing credibility of women at the company. All that machine learning and no human learning it seems.