Artificial intelligence researcher fired from Google in a growing trend

Artificial intelligence - You're Fired

The scientist was let go after reportedly having challenged the company’s findings.

According to a recent news report, another AI researcher has been fired from Google following criticism of the company’s work.

The media reports indicated that machine learning scientist Satrajit Chatterjee was let go.

According to the report, Satrajit Chatterjee, an artificial intelligence researcher, was fired shortly after Google declined to publish a paper that the scientist and others had written in a challenge to the company’s earlier findings. The paper challenged the claim that computers would be able to design certain chip components more effectively than humans.

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According to an Engadget report citing a New York Times publication, the researcher had been permitted to collaborate with other scientists on a paper that questioned the findings of previous research. Permission was granted after Chatterjee and the other authors of the paper expressed reservations. However, Chatterjee was reportedly dismissed after the paper was rejected by a resolution committee. The researchers intended to bring the issue to Alphabet‘s board of directors and CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google hasn’t publicly disclosed the specific reason the artificial intelligence researcher was fired.

According to the New York Times report, Google said only that Chatterjee was “terminated with cause”. The tech giant also stated that the original paper challenged by Chatterjee had been “thoroughly vetted” while also having been peer reviewed. The company stated that the paper challenging the original study’s claims “did not meet our standards”.

Whatever the quality of the science, this latest removal places the spotlight back on the continuing discord that seems to be taking place between the management at Google and the AI teams behind many of the company’s projects. The issue truly took off in 2020 when Google fired ethicist Timnit Gebru. The firing occurred after a dispute that took place over a paper. Two other similar firings took place not long afterward.

In 2021, Margaret Mitchell was terminated by Google, when the company claimed Mitchell had violated data confidentiality policies and publicly criticized the company’s executives including their decision to fire Gebru. A number of engineers chose to leave the company and demand reforms in response. The tension is expected to continue now that the Chatterjee firing has refreshed it.

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