Google confirmed on Tuesday that a leader of its artificial intelligence team has resigned in an exit that occurs after the controversial dismissal of two colleagues.
The internet giant declined to comment further on the resignation of Samy Bengio, who has worked at Google for nearly four years and specialized in machine learning.
“While I look forward to my next challenge, there is no question that leaving this wonderful team is really difficult,” Bengio wrote in a job email first cited by Bloomberg.
Bengio did not refer to Timnit Gebru or Margaret Mitchell, two former team members focused on ethical artificial intelligence.
In February, Google fired Mitchell, a lead researcher, following last year’s controversy over the firing of tech giant Gebru, an outspoken advocate for diversity.
Bengio expressed his solidarity with Gebru in a message shared on Facebook that remained active on Tuesday.
“I have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of his scientific work to ensure that AI becomes a positive force for the minority, as well as his generosity and tireless actions to raise the voice of the silenced,” Bengio said of Gebru . in the post.
Mitchell had downloaded and shared company documents, according to a statement from Google earlier this year to Axios, which reported 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 fired Gebru.
“It’s sad to see this happen to the only head of the research organization who was doing the right thing,” Gebru said of Bengio on Twitter.
Mitchell took to Twitter to thank Bengio for supporting her and Gebru and providing an inclusive environment.
“But once you ‘see’ sexism and racism, staying with an organization that defends it becomes unsustainable,” Mitchell said in a tweet, predicting that more members of his old team at Google would resign.
“There is a lot of interest in responsible / ethical AI outside of Google, so the people we work with have a lot of options.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)