Another Firing Among Google’s A.I. Brain Trust, and More Discord
The researchers are considered a key to the company’s future. But they have had a hard time shaking infighting and controversy over a variety of issues.
Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google's parent firm, has declared that artificial intelligence is crucial to the future of his company.
Just two years after Google fired two researchers who challenged the biases that are built into artificial intelligence , it dismissed a researcher who challenged the validity of a research paper published by Google on the capabilities of a specific kind of artificial intelligence that is that is used to create computers.
Researchers, Satrajit Chatterjee led an entire team of scientists in contesting the renowned study that was published in the academic journal Nature and claimed that computers could design certain components of a chip more quickly and with greater efficiency than humans.
The Dr. Chatterjee, 43, was fired in March shortly after Google advised his team it was not going to publish the paper that disproved certain assertions that were made in Nature according to four sources knowledgeable about the matter were not allowed to talk about the issue publicly. Google has confirmed in a written declaration that. Chatterjee had been "terminated with cause."
Google refused to provide further information on the reasons behind Dr. Chatterjee's demotion, however it provided a full and frank defense of the research that he has criticized as well as its refusal to publish his findings.
"We thoroughly vetted the original Nature paper and stand by the peer-reviewed results," Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of Google Research, said in an email statement. "We also rigorously investigated the technical claims of a subsequent submission, and it did not meet our standards for publication."
Dr. Chatterjee's demotion was just the latest sign of discord within and surrounding Google Brain, an A.I. research team that has been deemed as a crucial factor in the future of the company. After spending billions to recruit top researchers and to develop new forms technology for computer-controlled automation Google is battling many criticisms about how it constructs and uses, as well as portrays these technology.
Tensions between Google's A.I. researchers is a reflection of the larger battles in the tech industry, which is confronted with a variety of issues regarding the latest A.I. technologies as well as the complex ethical issues which have caught these technologies as well as the individuals who create the technology.
The latest dispute follows the same pattern of dismissals as well as conflicting accusations of wrongdoing by Google's A.I. researchers, a rising worry for a company that has staked its future on incorporating artificial intelligence into all its activities. Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google's parent company, Alphabet, has compared A.I. to the emergence of fire or electricity calling it one of the most significant endeavors.
Google Brain started as a side project over 10 years ago when a team of researchers created a computer system that was able to identify cat faces in YouTube videos. Google management was so enthralled with the notion that machines could be able to learn new capabilities on their own they quickly expanded the research lab, creating an underlying foundation to re-invent the company using this revolutionary artificial intelligence. The research lab became the emblem of the company's most ambitious goals.
Although Google has been promoting the technology's potential but it's faced opposition from employees over its potential use. In the year 2018, Google employees protested in a contract that was signed with the Department of Defense, worried that Google's A.I. could cause death to people. Google eventually decided to pull out of the project. It could end up killing people..
In December 2020 Google removed one of the top members of their Ethical A.I. team, which was Timnit Gebru following a report that criticised the company's attitude to minority hiring . She also was pushed to release an academic paper which pointed out the weaknesses in a new kind of A.I. system to learn languages.
Prior to her dismissal Gebru was fired because the Dr. Gebru was seeking permission to write a research paper on how A.I.-based language systems, like the technology developed by Google might end with the biased and demeaning language that they learn from texts in books as well as on websites. Gebru. Gebru said she had become frustrated with Google's response to these complaints, and it refusing to make public her paper.
Then, a few months later Google fired the second leader of its team Margaret Mitchell, who was vocally critical of Google's handling of the matter in conjunction with Dr. Gebru. Google claimed that it was a violation of its code of conduct that Dr. Mitchell had violated its code of conduct.
The article published in Nature which was published in June, outlined a new technology called reinforcement learning. It was claimed by the authors to improve the design of chip designs for computers. The technology was widely hailed as a major breakthrough in artificial intelligence, and an enormous improvement over the existing methods of design of chips. Google claimed that it employed this technique to design its own chips that are designed for Artificial Intelligence Computing.
Google was researching the machine learning approach in chip development for several years and published an identical study one year prior. In the same year, Google asked Dr. Chatterjee who holds an advanced degree in computing science at the University of California, Berkeley and worked as an research scientist at Intel to determine if the technique could be licensed or sold for use by a design firm according to people who are familiar with the issue stated.
However, Professor. Chatterjee expressed reservations in an internal email regarding certain of the claims made in the paper and wondered if the technology was thoroughly examined, three people who spoke to.
While the debate surrounding the research continued, Google pitched another paper to Nature. In the paper, Google made some adjustments to the paper that was previously submitted and deleted from the paper the name of two of its authors who had been working together in collaboration with the researcher Dr. Chatterjee and had also voiced concerns regarding the main assertions of the paper according to the sources.
The paper that was revised and updated published, a number of Google researchers were shocked. They were of the opinion that it did not follow a publication approval process which Jeff Dean, the company's senior vice president , who is responsible for the majority of its A.I. initiatives, had said was needed in the wake of Dr. Gebru's resignation according to the sources.
Google is also one of two principal researchers, Anna Goldie, who co-authored the paper with colleague in the field of computer science, Azalia Mirhoseini, said the revisions to the original paper didn't require the approval of the entire procedure. Google permitted its Dr. Chatterjee and a handful of researchers from both the internal and external research to write a paper that challenged a few of its assertions.
The team presented the refutation paper to a resolution committee to be approved for publication. After a few months, the paper was rejected.
Researchers who worked on the rebuttal document stated that they were looking to take the matter up to the Ms. Pichai and Alphabet's board of directors. They claimed that Google's decision not to release the rebuttal was in violation of its own href="https://ai.google/principles"/" the title ="">A.I. principles, which include ensuring the highest standards of excellence in science. After a while the interview, the Dr. Chatterjee was informed that the doctor was no longer an employee, according to the sources.
Mrs. Goldie said that Dr. Chatterjee had asked to manage the project in 2019 , and they had refused. After he had criticized the project she claimed that it was impossible to prove his claims and didn't consider the evidence they provided in their response.
"Sat Chatterjee has waged a campaign of misinformation against me and Azalia for over two years now," Ms. Goldie said in a written statement.
The research was peer-reviewed by Nature One of the most respected scientific journals. She also said that Google utilized their techniques to develop new chips, and they are being used by Google's data centers.
Laurie M. Burgess, Dr. Chatterjee's attorney, said it was regrettable to learn that "certain authors of the Nature paper are trying to shut down scientific discussion by defaming and attacking Dr. Chatterjee for simply seeking scientific transparency." Ms. Burgess also questioned the direction by the Dr. Dean, who was among the 20 co-authors of that Nature paper.
"Jeff Dean's actions to repress the release of all relevant experimental data, not just data that supports his favored hypothesis, should be deeply troubling both to the scientific community and the broader community that consumes Google services and products," Ms. Burgess said.
Doctor. Dean did not respond to a request for comments.
Following the rebuttal document's release, it was distributed to academics and other experts from outside Google The controversy became a global issue of researchers that specialize in the field of chip design.
The maker of chips Nvidia claims to have used techniques for designing chips that are like Google's, however, some experts aren't sure what the Google research will mean to the wider technology sector.
"If this is really working well, it would be a really great thing," said Jens Lienig Professor of the Dresden University of Technology in Germany and referring to the A.I. technology that Google has described in its paper. "But it is not clear if it is working."