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A union of workers at Google and its parent company Alphabet, which launched on Jan. 4, is condemning Google's investigation of an artificial intelligence (AI) ethics researcher.
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Margaret Mitchell, who helped lead the company's ethical AI team before her email was suspended, was using automated technology to search through messages reportedly showing discriminatory language targeted at fellow AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru before her exit, according to Axios.
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The Alphabet Workers Union criticized Google's treatment of Mitchell and Gebru as an "attack on the people who are trying to make Google’s technology more ethical" in a Wednesday press release.
"Regardless of the outcome of the company’s investigation, the ongoing targeting of leaders in this organization calls into question Google’s commitment to ethics—in AI and in their business practices," the AWU said. "Many members of the Ethical AI team are AWU members and the membership of our union recognizes the crucial work that they do and stands in solidarity with them in this moment."
Google did not immediately respond to an inquiry from FOX Business.
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A company spokesperson told Axios on Wednesday that it is investigating the reason why Mitchell downloaded thousands of files and shared them with people outside Google.
"Our security systems automatically lock an employee’s corporate account when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered," the spokesperson said.