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AI researcher leaving Google

Still another top AI researcher leaving Google

Google AI research manager Samy Bengio said he is resigning, according to an internal email, Bloomberg News and Reuters reported. The AI unit has recently lost some of his colleagues after they had questioned internal rules and diversity practices. At least two Google engineers had earlier resigned in protest of the dismissal of a colleague.

Bengio has spent about 14 years at the company and was among its first employees involved in a decade-old project known as Google Brain with advanced algorithms crucial to the functioning of various modern artificial intelligence systems.

In the email he sent internally, Bengio said, “I have decided to leave Google in order to pursue other exciting opportunities.”

Google fired staff scientist Margaret Mitchell in February after alleging she transferred electronic files out of the company. It fired fellow researcher Timnit Gebru in December after she threatened to quit rather than retract a paper.

Mitchell has said she tried “to raise concerns about race and gender inequity, and speak up about Google’s problematic firing of Gebru.” Gebru has said the company wanted to suppress her criticism of its products and its efforts to increase workforce diversity.

Bengio did not mention their firings in his farewell note.

“I learned so much with all of you, in terms of machine learning research of course, but also on how difficult yet important it is to organize a large team of researchers so as to promote long term ambitious research, exploration, rigor, diversity and inclusion,” he said.


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