The campaign calls on students and researchers worldwide to refuse to be recruited by Google, following the prominent silencing and firing of Google’s Ethical AI Co-Leads Dr. Timnit Gebru and Dr. Margaret Mitchell.
(CAMBRIDGE March 2, 2021)
No Tech For Tyrants (NT4T) is partnering with students across the UK and the world to say: Google, #RecruitMeNot. Following Google’s highly controversial censorship and firing of Dr. Timnit Gebru, a groundbreaking researcher, trailblazing Black woman in AI Ethics, and Co-Lead of Google’s Ethical AI Team, NT4T is mobilizing students to resist Google’s influence at universities, where the company relies on the “tech-talent pipeline” to recruit its future workers. Students are calling for an accountable tech industry that does not engage in racism and censorship. The #RecruitMeNot pledge commits students to refuse working for Google until the company meets basic accountability demands set out by Google employees at Google Walkout For Real Change. The pledge will be launched with a panel on Big Tech & Racial Justice, as well as a workshop on resisting carceral co-optation of tech research.
In December 2020, Google informed Dr. Timnit Gebru that she was terminated from her position as Staff Research Scientist and Co-Lead of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team. Google then falsely claimed that Dr. Gebru had resigned, citing Dr. Gebru’s pushback against company censorship of her research on the dangers of large-scale AI language models. The firing was unjust and indicative of structural racism against Black women at Google and in the tech industry. Since December, Google has proceeded to fire Dr. Margaret Mitchell, the other Co-Lead of the Ethical AI Team, and announce reorganization of its AI Ethics Team. In addition to raising red flags about Google’s research, the company response to criticism over firing Dr. Gebru has displayed a complete disregard for its workers and an alarming lack of accountability.
As a first step in solidarity with Dr. Gebru and her colleagues at Google Walkout for Real Change, NT4T is launching #RecruitMeNot: a student pledge that we will not be recruited by or work for Google until the demands of Google Walkout for Real Change are truly met.
The campaign kickoff event is Wednesday, March 10 at 6:00 PM GMT, featuring a panel on Tech and Racial Justice, led by student members of Cambridge Tech & Society and Edinburgh Digital Rights Society. The panel is open to the public and comprises MUTALE NKONDE (founder and CEO of AI for the People); KIM M. REYNOLDS (Our Data Bodies campaigner); and EZINNE NWANKWO, (Harvard-Cambridge Fellowship recipient at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence).
On Monday, March 8 at 6:00 PM GMT, NT4T will be holding a workshop and panel on the University and the Surveillance State, discussing how tech researchers can resist corporate and state funding cooptation of research agendas. The panel features LILLY IRANI (UCSD & Tech Workers Coalition), DAVE MAASS (Electronic Frontier Foundation), PEAKS KRAFFT (University of the Arts London), and MALLIKA BALAKRISHNAN (No Tech For Tyrants).
Students and researchers, please add your voice: change.org/recruitmenot
The campaign launch event is open to all. Register now: recruitmenot.eventbrite.com
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About No Tech For Tyrants
No Tech For Tyrants (NT4T) is a UK-wide, student-centred collective severing the links between the university, violent technology companies, and hostile immigration environments. NT4T organises, researches, and campaigns to dismantle the violence infrastructure at the intersection of ethics, technology, migration governance, and surveillance. Check out their recent report All Roads Lead to Palantir: A review of how the data analytics company has embedded itself throughout the UK, authored with Privacy International.
About Cambridge Tech and Society
Cambridge Tech and Society (CT&S) is a student-run society set up to explore the effects on individuals, society, and politics of developing technologies and their applications. CT&S focuses on how those technological developments can be deployed to secure and further social justice and democracy, on local, national, and international scales.
About Digital Rights Society at the University of Edinburgh
The Digital Rights Society is a student-run society at the University of Edinburgh. The society organises education and outreach events for the student body on digital rights topics – surveillance capitalism, transparency, inclusion, public discourse and policy in our information society.