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Photo: Google

Google has pulled the plug on an outside advisory group that was to have helped guide AI work following a series of controversies, the company confirmed on Thursday

Why it matters: Google, like Microsoft, had been looking for outside input to guide its AI efforts. However, Google's panel drew almost immediate outcry for, among other things, including the president of the Heritage Foundation.

"It’s become clear that in the current environment, (the panel) can’t function as we wanted," Google said in a statement. "So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics."

Thousands of Google employees and others had signed a petition calling for the removal of Kay Coles James, citing views they said were anti-transgender, anti-gay and anti-immigrant.

"So many people (over 2300 Googlers & over 300 supporters from industry, academia and civil society) answered the call to #StandAgainstTransphobia," the petition's organizers said on Twitter. "We thank you for your support & unwillingness to compromise on hate."

A source had earlier told Axios that Google planned to hold firm and keep Coles, citing a desire to hear from a range of voices and draw on Coles' free market mindset.

The group's disbanding was first reported by Vox.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.