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Fired From Google After Critical Work, AI Researcher Mitchell to Join Startup

Former co-head of Ethical AI group will join Hugging Face to create tools for AI fairness

Margaret Mitchell in Seattle, Washington, in April. 

Margaret Mitchell in Seattle, Washington, in April. 

Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg

The former co-head of Google’s Ethical AI research group, Margaret Mitchell, who was fired in February after a controversy over a critical paper she co-authored, will join artificial intelligence startup Hugging Face to create tools that help companies make sure their algorithms are fair.

Hugging Face maintains a repository where people can share and collaborate on AI models, an open-source platform that’s used by more than 5,000 organizations, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Mitchell plans to start in October and will begin by working on a set of tools to ensure the datasets used to train AI algorithms aren’t biased. Incomplete data used to “teach” a model how to make predictions or determinations typically leads to AI software that performs poorly with whichever groups are left out of the original data, be it women, members of minority groups or older people.