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Who Is Making Sure the A.I. Machines Aren't Racist?


Former Google research Timnit Gebru.

"Your life starts getting worse when you start advocating for underrepresented people," the researcher Timnit Gebru said before losing her job at Google.

Credit: Cody O'Loughlin/The New York Times

Hundreds of people gathered for the first lecture at what had become the world's most important conference on artificial intelligence — row after row of faces. Some were East Asian, a few were Indian, and a few were women. But the vast majority were white men. More than 5,500 people attended the meeting, five years ago in Barcelona, Spain.

Timnit Gebru, then a graduate student at Stanford University, remembers counting only six Black people other than herself, all of whom she knew, all of whom were men.

The homogeneous crowd crystallized for her a glaring issue. The big thinkers of tech say A.I. is the future. It will underpin everything from search engines and email to the software that drives our cars, directs the policing of our streets and helps create our vaccines.

From The New York Times
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