Googlers protest AI advisory board member over anti-LGBT, anti-immigrant comments
More than 1,000 Google employees are calling for Google to rescind its decision to include Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James on a key AI advisory panel, pointing to her history of anti-gay, anti-transgender and anti-immigrant comments.
What they're saying: "Her record speaks for itself — over, and over, and over again," the Google employees said in a petition. "Google cannot claim to support trans people and its trans employees — a population that faces real and material threats — and simultaneously appoint someone committed to trans erasure to a key AI advisory position."
The big picture: Google last week named James to its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council. The company declined to comment. However, a source familiar with the situation said Google isn't budging and that the company likes the perspective she brings, including her NASA experience and free market thinking.
- Plus, the company wants to be challenged on various issues by those that aren't part of its usual circles.
Between the lines: There is also a feeling in Google leadership that the company can't be seen as having to put all its management decisions up for a popular vote.
Flashback: Google refused for months to pull down an Android app that LGBT groups said engages in a form of conversion therapy.
- However, it reversed course less than 24 hours after the Human Rights Campaign suspended Google's rating in its influential Corporate Equality Index.