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Two Google engineers quit over company’s treatment of AI researcher

Timnit Gebru, an eminent Black scientist, says she was fired last year in clash over research on marginalized groups

Two Google engineers have quit over the treatment of Timnit Gebru, a prominent Black artificial intelligence researcher whose exit from the company sparked widespread outrage in the tech industry.

David Baker, an engineering director focused on user safety, left Google last month after 16 years because Gebru’s departure “extinguished my desire to continue as a Googler”, he said in a letter seen by Reuters. Baker added: “We cannot say we believe in diversity, and then ignore the conspicuous absence of many voices from within our walls.”

Vinesh Kannan, a software engineer, said on Wednesday that he had also left the company this week because Google had mistreated Gebru and April Christina Curley, a Black recruiter who has said she was wrongly fired from Google last year. “They were wronged,” Kannan said in a tweet.

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