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Google Scientist's Abrupt Exit Exposes Rift in Prominent AI Unit – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Google’s decision to part ways with a prominent researcher laid bare divisions within the company’s artificial intelligence unit and subjected its leader, the lauded software engineer Jeff Dean, to widespread scorn.

Timnit Gebru, a renowned scientist and one of the few Black women in AI, said Wednesday she was fired over an email she authored expressing dismay with management and the way it handled a review of her research. Gebru had been co-head of the team examining the ethical ramifications of AI.

What followed was a torrent of criticism of Google’s AI division, much of it aimed at Dean. “The termination is an act of retaliation against Dr. Gebru, and it heralds danger for people working for ethical and just AI — especially Black people and People of Color — across Google,” a group of hundreds of academics and researchers, many of them Google employees, wrote in an open letter. Among its demands: that Dean and his colleagues explain their decision-making around Gebru’s research.

The fallout threatens to tarnish the reputation of one of the industry’s leading research shops, a division of Alphabet Inc.’s Google that not only aids development of lucrative products but also contributes significantly to the world’s understanding of AI. And in a company brimming with computer scientists, few have been as revered as Dean. He oversees a sprawling research empire and has publicly championed more diverse hiring in AI and computer science. His programming prowess became the subject of corporate lore and glowing press coverage, including one article that called him the “Chuck Norris of the internet.”

“Ousting Timnit for having the audacity to demand research integrity severely undermines Google’s credibility for supporting rigorous research on AI ethics,” said Joy Buolamwini, the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League who wrote a ground-breaking paper, with Gebru, on racism in facial recognition software. The widely cited 2018 study showed facial recognition software misidentified dark-skinned women as much as 35% of the time — compared with near precision in White men.

Dean and Google representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment. In an email to colleagues Thursday that was seen by Bloomberg, Dean defended his handling of the matter. He wrote in part that Gebru hadn’t followed company policy in submitting the paper for peer review, that it ignored “too much relevant research,” and that Gebru and colleagues made unrealistic demands when they were informed “that it didn’t meet our bar for publication.”

Under Dean, Google has assembled a diverse group of AI ethics scientists with backgrounds in tech and social science, but some of those employees are now wondering if they are free to do their jobs. Inside Google’s research unit, several people openly questioned their future at the company, while others felt compelled to apologize to recently hired researchers, according to a person who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.

“The egregiously aggressive retaliation from Jeff Dean and other senior leaders at Google is indicative of the lack of respect that they have both for Black women and academic freedom and integrity,” said Ifeoma Ozoma, a former Google policy associate.

The controversy came to a head Wednesday, when Gebru, the co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence unit, posted on Twitter about her dismissal. She said that the company had demanded she retract a research paper she co-authored that criticized computer language models — including methods Google uses for its search engine and voice assistant.

In an email to colleagues earlier in the week that was also seen by Bloomberg, Gebru accused Dean’s division of not hiring enough women and silencing employees from marginalized groups. She told her colleagues to stop working “because it doesn’t make a difference.” In a subsequent message to Gebru, Google cited that email as a missive “inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager.”

In his Thursday email to staff, Dean said he had accepted Gebru’s resignation after declining to meet her demands about the unpublished research paper. He also mentioned her comments supporting a work stoppage. “Please don’t,” the executive pleaded.

Dean’s email didn’t go over well. On Twitter, Alex Hanna, a researcher on Google’s Ethical AI team, accused Dean of “spreading misinformation and misconstruals” in the email.

“I’m extremely disappointed in @JeffDean today,” Kelly Ellis, a former Google engineer who now works at MailChimp, wrote on Twitter. “Shame on you, @JeffDean. I naively expected more from you,” said Eddie Kay, another former Google engineer.

Dean joined Google in 1999 and climbed its ranks — he’s now one of select Senior Vice Presidents — largely on his software engineering ability. In 2018, he was named the head of Google’s AI unit, widely considered the global leader in cutting-edge efforts like speech detection and image recognition.

Soon, though, that job entailed dealing with controversies. That year, Google staff rebelled against the company’s work on an AI project for the Pentagon. Researchers at the company also spoke out about how bias in AI unfairly targeted people of color in several instances, from Google’s Photo app to the algorithms used in bank loans and police work.

Since then, Google released a set of ethical guidelines for its AI, including barring facial recognition for surveillance. The tech giant set up advisory counsels, which itself struggled to function. It also hired a handful of experts like Gebru, who had worked at Microsoft Corp., and paid them to research topics around AI and ethics.

Gebru was one of five Google staff listed on the research paper at the heart of her dismissal, along with two outside researchers. Emily M. Bender, a linguist from the University of Washington who co-authored the research, said she didn’t know about the issues Google had with the research. “[Gebru] is an incredibly respected leader in this field,” Bender said. “By pushing her out, Google is losing a major asset.”

In the past two years, several internal critics of Google’s approach to AI and ethics have left the company. On Thursday, staff on Dean’s unit referenced these departures as a sign of the low morale on the team. “The chilling effects of the decisions behind-the-scenes continue to haunt me,” Margaret Mitchell, co-head of the ethical AI team, wrote in an email viewed by Bloomberg News.

Dean took a more calibrated tone about the most recent exit. “I know we all genuinely share Timnit’s passion to make AI more equitable and inclusive,” he wrote in the email to his staff. “No doubt, wherever she goes after Google, she’ll do great work and I look forward to reading her papers and seeing what she accomplishes.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Samsung's first update for the Galaxy Buds Pro is now available – MobileSyrup

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Despite only dropping last week, Samsung has already released the first update for the Galaxy Buds Pro.

The new update includes “left/right sound balance adjustment,” a new “hearing enhancements feature,” overall better “stability and reliability” and more.

The entire update measures in at just 2.2MB according to Samsung’s update page.

Galaxy Buds Pro update notification

While I’m impressed with the Buds Pro’s active noise-cancelling and unique ‘Voice Detect’ feature that allows you to hear someone talking even with ANC turned on, I found them surprisingly uncomfortable. I also find it strange that Samsung has dropped iOS support through the Galaxy Buds app with the Buds Pro.

For more on the Galaxy Buds Pro, check out my review of Samsung’s earbuds that aim to be the South Korean tech giant’s answer to Apple’s AirPods Pro.

The Galaxy Buds Pro are available now and cost $264.

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Elon Musk Responds To a Request From a Tweeter Who Sent Him the Same Message 154 Times – mySanAntonio.com

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There is no doubt that perseverance does pay off. A video game creator set out to get Elon Musk’s attention and he succeeded! After 154 attempts to reach the CEO of SpaceX via Twitter , the enthusiastic programmer got a response.

The independent developer Lyubomir Vladimirov , promised to publish the same message for the daily businessman for a year. His intention was to ask Musk for permission to develop a game inspired by SpaceX , his space exploration company.

Dear Elon. I am a game developer and I am making a game about the colonization of Mars with you and SpaceX. If you think it’s cool, all I need is a ‘go ahead’ to use your name and logos. I will post this every day for a year or until I get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. 154/365 ” , says the video game creator’s post.


After 22 weeks of prodding, the CEO of Tesla finally heeded him and answered Vladimirov’s request.

“You can steal our name / logos and we probably won’t sue you ,” the Space CEO replied from his Twitter account.

After receiving the long-awaited response from Elon Musk , the tweeter promised that a good part of the video game’s profits would go to SpaceX .

“I want to give 80% of the profits from the game to SpaceX. In that way, the game will not only serve the important purpose of entertaining people and arousing their interest in Mars, but will also help Elon Musk and SpaceX to achieve this, ” wrote the programmer, who promised to show more progress soon.

Vladimirov has shown that he wasted no time while waiting for Musk’s permission. In his profile you can find several videos showing the interface of the game.

Related:
Elon Musk responde petición de tuitero que le envió 154 veces el mismo mensaje
Elon Musk Responds To a Request From a Tweeter Who Sent Him the Same Message 154 Times
Elon Musk Donates $5 Million to Provide Students Access to Free Education

Copyright 2021 Entrepreneur.com Inc., All rights reserved

This article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com

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Samsung seems to have quietly discontinued the Galaxy S20 series – gizmochina

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For some manufacturers such as Apple, the launch of a new model doesn’t mean that a previous model will no longer be available for sale. No, you will still be able to purchase the old model and at an even cheaper price tag. You would think that is the same thing Samsung would do following the launch of the Galaxy S21 series. But in what can be termed a surprise, you can no longer purchase any model of the original Galaxy S20 series from Samsung’s official website.

If you visit Samsung’s official website now, the only Galaxy S20 phone you can purchase is the Galaxy S20 FE, which is no surprise considering it was announced a little over three months ago. However, the original Galaxy S20 series which includes the standard model, the Galaxy S20 Plus, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra are all listed as out of stock. We checked the Indian site too and it is the same thing – out of stock. The phones are also not available in the UK and in China.

Galaxy S20 series out of stock

EDITOR’S PICK: Samsung slashes the price of its 25W USB-C Wall Charger but it is not live yet

This new development will surely disappoint those who thought they would be able to get last year’s flagship phones at a more affordable price tag since there are now new models.

While Samsung will no longer officially sell the phones, we expect third-party sellers will still have units available. Also, there should be refurbished units available for purchase from these sellers.

Were you planning to pick up a Galaxy S20 phone following the launch of the Galaxy S21 series? What do you think of Samsung’s decision to abruptly pull the plug on the phones less than a year after they went on sale?

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