Samy Bengio, the research manager of Google has announced on Tuesday that he will be resigning. This comes from an internal email seen by Reuters, in a blow to Alphabet Inc unit after his colleagues who had raised their voice against paper review and diversity practices were fired.
Previously, two engineers of Google have resigned to show their support to AI researcher Timnit Gebru, who was fired unfairly. Bengio however is the highest-ranking employee yet to resign.
Google and Bengio were not available for comment. Bloomberg had reported this news previously.
Bengio was a very promising scientist at Google and he has been in the company for 14 years. A project of Google called Google Brain, advanced algorithms crucial to the functioning of various modern artificial intelligence systems. This is a project which dates to ten years back and Bengio was one of those first employees who were involved in the project.
Bengio wrote in the email, “I have decided to leave Google in order to pursue other exciting opportunities.”
In February, Google had dismissed staff scientist Margaret Mitchell. They claimed that she had transferred electronic files out of the company. This was followed by the dismissal of researcher Gebru in December. She had threatened to quit rather than retract a paper and hence she was fired.
Mitchell said that she tried “to raise concerns about race and gender inequity, and speak up about Google’s problematic firing of Dr. Gebru.” Gebru had commented that all the company wanted was to crush her negative opinions of its products and its efforts to increase workforce diversity.
Both of them had co-led a team of about 12 members researching ethical issues related to AI software along with Bengio. Bengio came in support of them. In December, he said on Facebook that he was stunned that Gebru, whom he was managing, was removed from the company without him being consulted.
Although, he did not mention any of the dismissals in his farewell note.
He said, “I learned so much with all of you, in terms of machine learning research of course, but also on how difficult yet important it is to organize a large team of researchers so as to promote long term ambitious research, exploration, rigor, diversity, and inclusion.”