Google has announced the appointment of Dr Marian Croak to lead the AI division within Google Research. Prior to this, Croak was heading the engineering division of the company as a Vice President. With this new appointment, the tech giant is hopeful of stabilising the chaos after Timnit Gebru’s layoff.
A recent blog post by Google, confirming the news, stated that Croak will now be responsible for managing the teams working on artificial intelligence for social good, algorithmic fairness, and ethics in AI. She will be directly reporting to the SVP of Google AI Research and Health.
Speaking about her new responsibility, Croak stated in the official blog post that considering the field of ethical AI is relatively novel, and there is a lot of conflict in the views within the area. Thus, to advance in this field, one needs to address these issues.
“Most institutions have only developed principles, and they’re very high-level, abstract principles, in the last five years. There’s a lot of dissension, a lot of conflict in terms of trying to standardise normative definitions of these principles,” said Croak. “There’s quite a lot of conflict right now within the field, and it can be polarising at times. And what I’d like to do is have people have the conversation more diplomatically, perhaps, than we’re having it now, so we can truly advance this field.”
This changing leadership can be attributed to the departure of Dr Timnit Gebru and suspension of researcher Margaret Mitchell from the company, which has questioned the tech giant’s attempt to build ethical AI and created massive chaos amid the industry. However, with this new leadership, the company is hoping to develop responsible artificial intelligence and that it has a positive impact.
To work on this vision, Croak has also created and will lead a new centre of expertise on ethical AI within Google Research, stated in the official blog post. However, it is still unclear what this new appointment means for Margaret Mitchell, who is still in a lockout from the company and being investigated.