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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.