Google CEO Sundar Pichai apologized Wednesday for the company’s handling of the departure of AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru and said he would investigate the events and work to restore trust, according to an internal memo sent companywide and obtained by Axios. From the report: Gebru’s exit has provoked anger and consternation within Google as well as in academic circles, with thousands of people signing an open letter urging Google to reexamine its practices. In the note, Pichai acknowledged the depth of the damage done by the company’s actions and said the company would look at all aspects of the situation, but stopped short of saying the company made a mistake in removing Gebru.
“I’ve heard the reaction to Dr. Gebru’s departure loud and clear: it seeded doubts and led some in our community to question their place at Google,” Pichai said in the memo. ” I want to say how sorry I am for that, and I accept the responsibility of working to restore your trust.” While Pichai’s memo strikes a contrite tone, it’s unclear how far it will go to addressing the significant upset within Google’s ranks, especially among those concerned with its commitments to diversity and academic freedom.
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