Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Inc, said that employee dissent over the artificial intelligence work of Google seems extreme because the company is so simple and transparent. They’re making it all clear. In the method and in the system, everything is clear.
“Part of the reason you see a lot of debate, I mean, we engage as a company,” Pichai said Thursday during a World Economic Forum discussion. “We are a lot more transparent than most other companies, and so you do see us in the middle of these issues. I take it as a sign that we allow for debate to happen around this area and we need to get better as a company. We are committed to doing so.”
More About The Case In Google:
In December, in a flood of controversy, Timnit Gebru, a researcher who is best known for demonstrating how facial recognition algorithms are better at recognizing white people than black people, left Google. She said she was terminated after the organization requested that she withdraw a research article she co-authored that challenged the AI technology at the center of Google’s search engine.
The organization said that she had resigned. A petition in favor of Gebru was signed by nearly 2,700 Googlers and over 4,300 scholars and civil society backers. Pichai sent an explanation to workers by email and said he was investigating the matter.
The CEO said Thursday that listening to workers is an integral part of the culture of Google and he wants to focus on growth and inclusion and diversity activities through employee groups.
Regulatory authorities from the European Union to Australia to the US are targeting Google on topics such as antitrust and if the company has to pay publications for news. While most of these measures are being fought by the company, Pichai said he wants to see even more regulation in certain fields. This includes a global consensus on AI security and quantum computing and government guidelines on content moderation and online free expression.
Digital misinformation “is bigger than any single company,” he added. “It is here to stay. As a society, we need to develop the next set of frameworks for us to function through that. That’s the debate we’re in the middle of.”