Sunday 6 February 2022

Ex-researchers at Google accuse the company of being 'racialized' and 'maintaining white supremacy'

 Researchers who previously worked at Google angrily accused the company of being "racialized" and "maintaining white supremacy."

Senior research scientist Alex Hanna and software engineer Dylan Baker quit Google's ethical Artificial Intelligence team and joined a non-profit dedicated to researching abuses by software companies in the field of artificial intelligence.

Hanna wrote a lengthy blog post tossing accusations at Google.

"Google's toxic problems are no mystery to anyone who's been there for more than a few months, or who have been following the tech news with a critical eye," wrote Hanna.

“In a word, tech has a whiteness problem. Google is not just a tech organization. Google is a white tech organization,” Hanna wrote elsewhere in her post.

“More specifically, tech organizations are committed to defending whiteness through the ‘interrelated practices, processes, actions and meanings,’ the techniques of reproducing the organization,” she explained clearly.

She went on to say Google was just one of many "terrible places to work for people of color," and said they maintain "white supremacy" through the workplace and in their products.

Baker had similar criticism against the company.

"Google leadership has made it clear that there is simply no reason to let employees impact the direction of the company if that direction deviates from ravenous, short-sighted consumption and growth at any cost," he wrote in a separate blog post.

Both ex-Googlers joined a research institute organized by another former Google researcher who left the company over accusations that they were suppressing her research on diversity.

A spokesperson for Google responded to the comments in a statement Friday.

"We appreciate Alex and Dylan's contributions — our research on responsible AI is incredibly important, and we're continuing to expand our work in this area in keeping with our AI Principles," the statement read. "We're also committed to building a company where people of different views, backgrounds and experiences can do their best work and show up for one another."

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