An AI rebel alliance, Google fires Margaret Mitchell, and more!

Last Week in AI #105

Mini Briefs

Band of AI startups launch ‘rebel alliance’ for interoperability

More than 20 AI startups have together created the AI Infrastructure Alliance to build a software and hardware stack for machine learning and adopt common standards. Dan Jeffries, chief tech evangelist at Pachyderm who will serve as director of the alliance, said the group began to form from conversations beginning more than a year ago. The businesses, together, aim to offer an alternative to offerings from Big Tech cloud providers. Jeffries claims that the giants merely build infrastructures to lock customers in, while the alliance aims to build a stack that works in multiple environments. The alliance will initially focus on small partnerships between developers working on tools and frameworks and creating test software for integration.

Google fires researcher Margaret Mitchell amid chaos in AI division

The firing of Dr. Timnit Gebru from Google AI has been followed by a flurry of controversy and internal discontent. Dr. Gebru received a great deal of public support and two Google employees even quit in response to her ejection from the company. Among her most fervent supporters was her co-lead of the Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell, who posted a public letter about the incident that was strongly critical of Google. Mitchell had recently been locked out of her Google email and investigated for her handling of company data. Google has stated that she used automated scripts to retrieve internal documents and shared those documents outside the company. Google fired Mitchell on Friday, February 19, and has since made steps to restructure its Ethical AI team.


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Analysis & Policy

  • Biden should double down on Trump’s policy of promoting AI within government - "Trump’s recent executive order on promoting the use of artificial intelligence in government agencies, however, presents a rare bipartisan sentiment and promises to improve government policies and services across the board. The current administration should not only maintain this policy, it should make it a priority."

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