Google ends controversial AI advisory board

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.

What's next

Pelosi slams McConnell trial rules as "deliberately designed to hide the truth"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed in a statement Tuesday that the rules Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has proposed for President Trump's impeachment trial diverge from the Clinton precedent and show he has "chosen a cover-up" over a fair trial.

Context: McConnell made public an organizing resolution Monday laying out the terms for the trial, which include 24 hours over two days for each side to present their cases. It would block evidence discovered in the House impeachment investigation from being presented without a separate vote, and it would delay a vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents until later in the trial.

Setting the scene for Super Bowl LIV

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After a grueling four months of football, Patrick Mahomes has led the Chiefs out of the darkness and into the Miami sun, where the 49ers football machine awaits them in the Super Bowl.

"The Gunslinger"

Mahomes is 24 years old, arguably the best player in football and he just toppled Tom Brady as the top seller of NFL merchandise. A star has already been born — now he has the biggest stage in sports to showcase his brilliance.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Sports

Exclusive: The Athletic raises $50 million

Adam Hansmann (left) and Alex Mather (right), co-founders of The Athletic. Photo: Steph Gray, courtesy of The Athletic

The Athletic, a subscription-based digital sports media company, has raised $50 million in a Series D funding round, executives tell Axios.

  • With this investment, the company has raised a total of $139.5 million since its launch in 2016 and is valued at roughly $500 million after the new raise, according to sources familiar with the deal.
Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Media