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1 Apr 2019

Beth Kowitt, Fortune

Google Workers Want Heritage Foundation President with 'Anti-LGBTQ' Views Off A.I. Council

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A group of Google employees published an open letter... calling for the removal of the president of conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation from Google's newly formed A.I. advisory council, citing what they describe as her "vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant" views... The letter from employees said that the company's appointment of James "undermines Google's position on AI ethics and fairness..." Google and the Heritage Foundation did not respond to requests for comment... ex-Google employee Liz Fong-Jones, who co-founded [email protected] and is a board member of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Fortune that employees have been asking Google to involve marginalized people and employees in its A.I. discussions, and instead Google did just the opposite... Fong-Jones left the company earlier this year over what she has described as the "lack of accountability and oversight leading to poor working conditions for minorities..." Google's formation of the council was in part spurred by ... Google's contract with the Pentagon's Project Maven... After employee pushback, Google said it would not renew the Maven contract and released a set of A.I. principles... The very public response from Googlers to James' appointment is part of a broader movement of workplace activism in Silicon Valley and at Google in particular.