Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Yesterday at Google’s I/O developer conference, the company outlined ambitious plans for its future built on a foundation of advanced language AI. These systems, said Google CEO Sundar Pichai, will let users find information and organize their lives by having natural conversations with computers. All you need to do is speak, and the machine will answer.

But for many in the AI community, there was a notable absence in this conversation: Google’s response to its own research examining the dangers of such systems.

Language models like Google’s come with a host of challenging risks

In December 2020 and February 2021, Google first fired Timnit Gebru and then Margaret Mitchell, co-leads of its Ethical AI team. The story of their departure is…

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