This Black AI Scientist Launched Her Own Firm After Being Fired By Google. Now It’s Worth Millions
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Artificial intelligence (AI) computer scientist, Timnit Gebru, has just opened her own firm. This is particularly interesting because she made headlines for dramatically getting fired from Google, despite being one of their top researchers. The Verge reported that Google let go of Gebru following her publishing academic papers that denounced their AI work on large language models designed to help retrieve answers to controversial search inquiries. 

The situation became even more controversial due to the sustained campaign of aggressive tweets and emails that were launched her way after the termination. 

Now, her bittersweet story is hitting a high note. 

Her firm, DAIR (Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute), received $3.7 million in funding from the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kapor Center, Open Society Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

“I’ve been frustrated for a long time about the incentive structures that we have in place and how none of them seem to be appropriate for the kind of work I want to do,” Gebru shared with the Washington Post.

The company’s focus will be recognizing harmful outcomes technology has on marginalized groups who encounter inordinate effects from AI structures but lack the access to governing its development, The Washington Post reported.  

She plans to partner with other independent firms like Data and Society, Algorithmic Justice League, and Data for Black Lives.

Gebru said she launched DAIR  to aim to “document harms and develop a vision for AI applications that can have a positive impact on the same groups.” The overall goal is to  influence AI policies and practices of Google and the like, while leaning on her expertise to alter AI facial recognition software that has been extremely biased toward BIPOC. 

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