Apple hires former Google A.I. scientist who resigned after colleagues’ firings

Apple has hired former Google scientist Samy Bengio, who left Google amid turmoil in its artificial intelligence (A.I.) research department.

Apple Park, Cupertino, California
Apple Park, Cupertino, California

Paresh Dave and Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

Bengio is expected to lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, two people familiar with the matter said. Giannandrea joined Apple in 2018 after spending about eight years at Google.

Bengio who left Google last week after about 14 years said last month he was pursuing “other exciting opportunities.”

His decision followed Google’s firings of fellow scientists Margaret Mitchell for taking company data and Timnit Gebru after an offer to resign. Bengio had expressed support for the pair.

As one of the early leaders of the Google Brain research team, Bengio advanced the “deep learning” algorithms that underpin today’s AI systems for analyzing images, speech and other data.

MacDailyNews Note: In February, Reuters reported, “Alphabet Inc’s Google fired staff scientist Margaret Mitchell on Friday, they both said, a move that fanned company divisions on academic freedom and diversity that were on display since its December dismissal of AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru.”

“Google said in a statement Mitchell violated the company’s code of conduct and security policies by moving electronic files outside the company,” Reuters reported. “Google’s ethics in artificial intelligence work has been under scrutiny since the firing of Gebru, a scientist who gained prominence for exposing bias in facial analysis systems. The dismissal prompted thousands of Google workers to protest. She and Mitchell had called for greater diversity and inclusion among Google’s research staff and expressed concern that the company was starting to censor papers critical of its products. Gebru said Google fired her after she questioned an order not to publish a study saying AI that mimics language could hurt marginalized populations. Mitchell, a co-author of the paper, publicly criticized the company for firing Gebru and undermining the credibility of her work.”

8 Comments

  1. Dude’s going to choke on the level of forced “diversity and inclusion” at Tim Cook’s Apple.

    If Apple simply hired the best people, instead of hiring people based on their skin color or gender (claimed or otherwise) — which, by definition, makes Apple racist and sexist — their software would be of higher quality, their retail experience would be better, etc., than it is currently the case.

    1. Yeah because at present it’s only amongst, or better than all it’s major opposition out there with satisfaction rates amongst its customers. But hey putting bigotry before facts is no doubt your life’s ambition. Thankfully the ‘dude’ appears to pursue ideas more morally influenced.

    2. What is both Brutal and True is that Apple has hired one of the world’s leading scientists in a field that is vital to the company’s future and all you can see is a diversity hire because he is a Canadian whose parents were Moroccan Jews.

      Far from choking on Apple’s inclusion policies, Dr. Bengio is apparently changing employers precisely because Google has been suppressing research by its employees into the impact of AI technology on minority communities. He can see that Apple has a commitment to truth over profit.

      I wish that attitude were a bit more common.

  2. So much for “Don’t be evil”.

    Any idea can be taken to a ludicrous extreme and become destructive. Good civil rights action needs to be aimed at expanding opportunity and justice for everyone. That is the vision that brought progress to the US from the 1960’s to today.

    But lately some parts of the movement have degenerated into “We want white males to suffer as we have.” It seems more like vengeance – dragging people down, rather than uplifting the disadvantaged. This is a poison from within that is causing new racism that did not exist before.

  3. I hope they also hire is brother Yoshua, he is the top worldwide researcher on deep learning. Winner of the Turing award. With them Siri should stop sucking.

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