January 10, 2022

Google Fired A Black Leading AI Scientist But Now She’s Founded Her Own Firm And Got Millions In Funding

Timnit Gebru, a former leading artificial intelligence computer scientist that worked at Google before the firm fired her, has just set up her own firm, the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR).

Google had fired Gebru when she published academic papers denouncing the tech giant’s AI’s work on large language models that help retrieve answers to controversial search inquiries. 

The firm, an independent artificial intelligence research institute, was awarded $3.7 million in funding from the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kapor Center, Open Society Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Her company is set to focus on the harmful outcomes technology has on marginalized groups who encounter inordinate effects from AI structures but lack the access to governing its development, as reported by The Washington Post.

Gebru’s DAIR will join forces with smaller, independent institutes, like Data and Society, Algorithmic Justice League, and Data for Black Lives.

She aims for DAIR to influence AI policies and practices of Big Tech companies like Google. Her expertise will be monumental in leading the charge to alter AI applications, especially with facial recognition software that has shown extreme bias against people of color.

She founded Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR) with the intent to “document harms and develop a vision for AI applications that can have a positive impact on the same groups,” according to the Post. 

“I’ve been frustrated for a long time about the incentive structures that we have in place and how none of them seem to be appropriate for the kind of work I want to do,” Gebru said.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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