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Timnit Gebru Is Building a Slow AI Movement


Portrait of Timnit Gebru sitting in front of a window.

"I wonder about AI for social good. I'm not saying that it shouldn't happen, but why start with the AI? Why not think about the good you want to do, and then see if AI can be helpful?" -Timnit Gebru

Credit: Cody O'Loughlin/The New York Times/Redux

In December 2021, Timnit Gebru announced the founding of the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR), billed as "a space for independent, community-rooted AI research free from Big Tech's pervasive influence." Since then, Gebru has been staffing up. In February, artificial intelligence (AI) and sociology researcher Alex Hanna joined as research director, departing from her Google job with a blistering resignation letter.

In an interview, Gebru and Hanna talk about their plans for DAIR, including DAIR's mission, datasets and their discontents, and building a better model for AI research.

From IEEE Spectrum
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