This article is good.…
Researchers' trust probably won't be regained without a more individual approach to this, though. We are a small and tightly knit community; there is not really a way to regain trust while ignoring damage to individuals in our community.
That Google can't see this is concerning. Also, losing researchers' trust has a contagious effect in the engineering recruiting pool by way of faculty opinions.
I'll work with individuals in the ITP community who happen to be at Google because they are my friends, and I won't tell students what to do because that's not my place and can hurt my friends. But not everyone agrees with that POV, social media exists, and so on.
I'll still strongly voice my opinions when relevant. And my opinion is that repairing damage to harmed individuals is necessary, otherwise Google has not regained my trust.
If you have an entire generation of faculty doing this, it is not going to be good for Google in the long run. Google should realize this and change their current approach. The current approach is not just cruel but also shortsighted.
I counter it and propose (by way of a public conversation with Timnit yesterday):

1. Google lets Jeff talk to the Ethical AI team directly and ask what they want; Jeff does that and acts on the advice.

2. Google lets Jeff talk to Timnit and Meg; Jeff does that, too.
Much less shortsighted. Good for Timnit, Meg, Google, and Jeff, even if some initial pain precedes the benefits, like ripping off a bandaid.
The "Google lets" part is just based on educated guesses about how these things work in practice at companies. Most likely Jeff is acting within a system (say, according to advice from PR & legal), so nudging higher up for a change in the approach used seems ideal.
And I believe the reason this approach is not currently being taken is because of a misunderstanding higher up of how research communities work, and an underestimation of the damage of not taking such an approach.
Folks who make it high up in companies tend to have lawful D&D alignment, so it seems unlikely that asking for rulebreaking would succeed, and more likely that asking for a change in rules would succeed. There is a good case a change in rules is in Google's best interest.
So how could rules change?

I tried emailing @sundarpichai with a quite long and detailed and justified case on this, but I imagine he is busy and may not even read this email, let alone take it into account.
What about the stakeholders? Likely they do not understand how research communities work, either. Is there a way to reach stakeholders to explain the harms of the current approach, and make a case for a different one?
What about other leaders within Google? Who understands the current organizational structure well; who plans these approaches? Is there anyone there open to learning more about how research communities work? I do not have answers to these questions, but I would like them.
Concrete harms of the current approach Google is taking extend well beyond Twitter. You'll find this discussion in every Slack channel: university Slack, global Slacks for faculty candidates. We discuss it one-on-one. Students ask us questions about it privately.
That this has not permeated stakeholder opinions enough to impact the stock price at all, or senior leadership enough to influence a change in strategy, shows a failure to understand the influence these conversations have and the dynamics of research communities.
How do we communicate this message effectively to people with influence over the strategy? This should be the focus, I think, of anyone who cares strongly about a just outcome for the impacted individuals, and I truly and strongly believe it is best for Google as well.
Feel free to circulate in order to gather ideas for this. Feel free to DM if uncomfortable strategizing publicly. Since I believe this is also in Google's best interest and in Jeff's best interest, and have already communicated this strategy to Sundar, I feel OK with public.
My understanding from public conversations with Timnit and Meg available on Twitter is also that the team has tried this sort of thing before and failed, so I think it will take more voices than just those of Ethical AI.
Faculty have so much power here, and can do this responsibly without any threats to Google just by communicating how our community works to people with a say in strategy. But Googlers and ex-Googlers would probably need to help us find those people.
I guess, since I want to operate with complete transparency, but I continue to feel strongly invested in this because I care deeply about the community, I hope you all see this: @timnitGebru @mmitchell_ai @JeffDean @sundarpichai @GoogleAI

Have a good afternoon.
Ah, and faculty with aforementioned power, I hope you see this too. But I think that is like, hundreds of my followers, at the very least, too much to tag for now.
Of course long-term there should be higher-level systemic changes at the level of regulation. This is not mutually exclusive with making the case for individual justice, though.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Talia Ringer 🌸

Talia Ringer 🌸 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @TaliaRinger

7 Apr
I guess to people confused, my research community is now discussing whether and, if so, how to remame a proof assistant called Coq. The name is meaningful in French, but the English innuendo was known and a part of the "joke" when it was first named decades ago.
The person who named it this has a pattern of acting harmfully.…
And multiple women in the community (myself included) have been at best laughed at and at worse harassed for talking about our work in public or to students.
Read 10 tweets
6 Apr
I really need a break from communities run by and for men, honestly. I know I sometimes come across as aggressive, but I rarely do in spaces run by women and other gender minorities. It's just that to exist as a woman in this area, it feels like you constantly have to fight.
And you have to be careful to fight just hard enough for the amount of power and privilege you have at any point, and in the right ways. And the last few months for me have been reminder after reminder that this is true. These are important things to know, but also exhausting.
Sometimes it's nice to just exist.
Read 6 tweets
6 Apr
There's always one 🙄
Imagine thinking the zipper incident was a good thing:…
My response
Read 5 tweets
6 Apr
Quick Talia communication guide: When I propose something, I expect people to counter it by raising concerns combined with potential solutions, then I'll counter and propose in response, and so on until we reach consensus.
Similarly, when someone else proposes an idea, and I counter it by raising concerns and potential solutions, I am engaging excitedly and in good faith to work toward consensus.
The frame is collaborative: let's work together to think of better ideas than either of us could think of alone!
Read 8 tweets
5 Apr
Agreed and it also makes me feel good to see she/her pronouns in the case for "the programmer" honestly
I know it's minor, but every pronoun use seeds the internet with more data, and I like seeing societal efforts to fight normative pronouns for professions
This is the main reason I switched from alternating pronouns to using entirely she/her and they/them in my papers.
Read 4 tweets
5 Apr
Spending an hour of my Sunday singing in a private Zoom meeting with myself to help record the PLDI song 😊👩‍🎤🎶
lol so much of this song is in my transition range (A-C)
For sure nobody asked me to harmonize with myself but I did it anyways and I hope they use it
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!