Read Sundar Pichai’s email on the recent Google employee ‘controversy’ – Times of India


Google recently was in news over the abrupt departure of a senior employee. Senior AI researcher Temnit Gebru was reportedly terminated by Google and sparked quite a controversy. Now, according to a report by CNBC, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has addressed the matter in an email written to all company employees.
Pichai in his mail apologised to employees on how the whole matter was handled. “I’ve heard the reaction to Dr. Gebru’s departure loud and clear: it seeded doubts and led some in our community to question their place at Google,” he wrote. “I want to say how sorry I am for that, and I accept the responsibility of working to restore your trust.”
Gebru, who is a renowned AI researcher, had tweeted last week that Google had abruptly fired her. She tweeted that Google had fired over certain disagreements in a research paper which scrutinisedbias in artificial intelligence. Soon, after her departure from the firm, several Google employees signed a petition in her favour.
Pichai, in his email, said that, “We need to accept responsibility for the fact that a prominent Black, female leader with immense talent left Google unhappily. This loss has had a ripple effect through some of our least represented communities, who saw themselves and some of their experiences reflected in Dr. Gebru’s.”
Here’s Pichai’s email in full, as per the CNBC report:
Hi everyone,
One of the things I’ve been most proud of this year is how Googlers from across the company came together to address our racial equity commitments. It’s hard, important work, and while we’re steadfast in our commitment to do better, we have a lot to learn and improve. An important piece of this is learning from our experiences like the departure of Dr. Timnit Gebru.
I’ve heard the reaction to Dr. Gebru’s departure loud and clear: it seeded doubts and led some in our community to question their place at Google. I want to say how sorry I am for that, and I accept the responsibility of working to restore your trust.
First – we need to assess the circumstances that led up to Dr. Gebru’s departure, examining where we could have improved and led a more respectful process. We will begin a review of what happened to identify all the points where we can learn — considering everything from de-escalation strategies to new processes we can put in place. Jeff and I have spoken and are fully committed to doing this. One of the best aspects of Google’s engineering culture is our sincere desire to understand where things go wrong and how we can improve.

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Second – we need to accept responsibility for the fact that a prominent Black, female leader waith immense talent left Google unhappily. This loss has had a ripple effect through some of our least represented communities, who saw themselves and some of their experiences reflected in Dr. Gebru’s. It was also keenly felt because Dr. Gebru is an expert in an important area of AI Ethics that we must continue to make progress on — progress that depends on our ability to ask ourselves challenging questions.
It’s incredibly important to me that our Black, women, and underrepresented Googlers know that we value you and you do belong at Google. And the burden of pushing us to do better should not fall on your shoulders. We started a conversation together earlier this year when we announced a broad set of racial equity commitments to take a fresh look at all of our systems from hiring and leveling, to promotion and retention, and to address the need for leadership accountability across all of these steps. The events of the last week are a painful but important reminder of the progress we still need to make.
This is a top priority for me and Google leads, and I want to recommit to translating the energy that we’ve seen this year into real change as we move forward into 2021 and beyond.



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Sagar Biswas

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