By Jeffrey Dastin and Paresh Dave
Apr 6 (Reuters) – Google research director Samy Bengio said on Tuesday he resigned, according to an internal email seen by Reuters, in a blow to the Alphabet Inc unit, following the firings of colleagues who questioned the review. diversity jobs and practices.
Although at least two Google engineers had previously resigned in protest at the firing of artificial intelligence (AI) researcher Timnit Gebru, Bengio is the most prominent who has left.
Google and Bengio did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg had already reported the news.
Bengio, a prominent Google scientist, spent about 14 years with the company and was one of its first employees to participate in a decade-long project known as Google Brain, which advanced algorithms crucial to the operation of several modern artificial intelligence systems. .
In the email, which he sent internally, Bengio said: “I have decided to leave Google to look for other interesting opportunities.”
Google fired scientist Margaret Mitchell in February after claiming she had transferred files outside of the company. In December he fired his partner Gebru, who had threatened to resign instead of having to retract an article.
Mitchell has said she tried “to raise concerns about racial and gender inequality, and to talk about the problematic firing of Dr. Gebru by Google.”
Gebru had said the company wanted to suppress its criticisms of products and its efforts to increase workforce diversity.
Bengio had defended the couple, who co-led a team of a dozen people investigating ethical issues related to Artificial Intelligence software. In December, Bengio said on Facebook that he was shocked that Gebru, whom he led, was fired from the company without prior consultation.
He did not mention the layoffs in his note.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave and Jeffrey Dastin, additional report by Munsif Vengattil; Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)