Google research manager Samy Bengio exits

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Google research manager Samy Bengio said on Tuesday he was resigning, according to an internal email seen by Reuters, in a blow to the Alphabet Inc unit after the firings of his colleagues who questioned paper review and diversity practices.

Though at least two Google engineers had earlier resigned to protest the dismissal of artificial intelligence (AI) researcher Timnit Gebru, Bengio is the highest-profile employee yet to depart.

Google confirmed Bengio’s resignation and his email. Bengio did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg earlier reported the news.

A distinguished scientist at Google, Bengio spent about 14 years at the company and was among its first employees involved in a decade-old project known as Google Brain that advanced algorithms crucial to the functioning of various modern AI systems.

Andrew Ng, an early Brain member who now runs software startup Landing AI, said Bengio “has been instrumental to moving forward AI technology and ethics.” Another founding member, Jeff Dean, now oversees Google’s thousands of researchers.

Google Brain researcher Sara Hooker in a tweet described Bengio’s departure as “a huge loss for Google.”