Google requires its scientists to refer to “sensitive subjects,” such as the damage that technology can cause by adjusting to its parameters, where negative references must be avoided.
These regulations are derived from internal communications and interviews with researchers involved in the work, according to Reuters of Dec. 23.
Before addressing issues such as analysis of faces, feelings, race, gender, or political affiliation, scientists should consult with the legal, policy, and public relations teams to adjust to Google’s guidelines.
Lead scientist Margaret Mitchell and three other colleagues believe that Google is beginning to interfere with crucial studies that address the potential harm caused by technological developments.
“If we are investigating the appropriateness given our experience, and we are not allowed to publish it for reasons that are not in line with high-quality peer review, then we are getting into a serious censorship problem,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell’s statement contradicts Google’s published policy that its scientists have “substantial” freedom.
Google’s censorship regulations clashed with some of its employees and led to the abrupt departure of a computer scientist, Timnit Gebru, who works on algorithmic bias and data mining.
Gebru led 12 researchers, including Mitchell, that focused on ethics in artificial intelligence (AI) software.
In this case, Gebru noted that Google fired her for not obeying an order not to publish research claiming that AI mimicking speech could harm marginalized populations. Google said it accepted and expedited her resignation.
AI has been challenged by scientific studies showing that facial analysis software and other applications can perpetuate bias or harm privacy.
Among the “sensitive issues” considered by Google are the oil industry, China [the CCP], Iran, Israel, COVID-19 [CCP Virus], domestic security, insurance, location data, religion, self-driving vehicles, telecommunications, and systems that recommend or customize web content,” Reuters reported.
Google is accused by some legislators and groups defending consumers of trying to suppress competition and increase profits by harming consumers.
The technology giant controls about 90% of web searches worldwide, after buying nearly 260 companies in the last 20 years, according to a report by a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee of the Judiciary.