Replace November third, 3:04PM ET: Meredith Whittaker confirmed Wednesday that she will probably be becoming a member of the Federal Commerce Fee as a senior advisor on AI.
Thrilled to substantiate the rumors: I will probably be becoming a member of @FTC as a Senior Advisor on AI. I am humbled and past excited to get to work with + study from @linakhanFTC and her sensible crew.
— Meredith Whittaker (@mer__edith) November 3, 2021
Our unique story a few report that she could be becoming a member of the company follows beneath.
Former Google worker Meredith Whittaker may quickly be working on the Federal Commerce Fee as an AI coverage advisor, in response to a report by The Info. Whittaker could also be finest recognized for serving to to prepare a 2018 walkout at Google, the place 20,000 staff protested towards how the corporate dealt with alleged sexual harassment, and for leaving Google afterward, claiming that it had retaliated towards her and different organizers. Now, the FTC appears to be within the technique of hiring her to assist form rules round AI and Huge Tech.
In accordance with The Info, Whittaker hasn’t been formally appointed but, as steps like working a background examine aren’t full. If she is employed, although, she’ll carry a great deal of expertise — she labored at Google from 2006 to 2019 and has accomplished work round AI ethics since leaving the corporate.
Apart from serving to with the walkout, Whittaker additionally advocated for Google to cease constructing AI for the army and spoke out towards its ethics opinions, saying that it solely gave the “look of an inclusive debate, reasonably than critically contending with the issues within the firm.” Upon leaving the corporate, she mentioned that it was “clear” that it wasn’t a spot the place she may work towards tech accountability.
Whittaker has additionally handled difficulties within the public sphere — she labored on New York Metropolis’s algorithm process drive, which was designed to ensure that the town’s automated programs had been equitable and had acceptable oversight and transparency. When NYC ended up releasing the report, although, she known as the trouble “a waste,” echoing considerations raised by different members that dissenting opinions weren’t taken critically or included.
As The Info factors out, although, there are indicators that the FTC could possibly be a extra hospitable place for her concepts if she really finally ends up working there. The regulator’s new chair, Lina Khan, has mentioned she desires to focus consideration on tech giants and antitrust, and Amazon has even requested that she not be concerned in instances involving the corporate due to her previous statements about breaking it up. The present administration appears severe about nominating specialists to work on the company, which has struggled to manage Huge Tech prior to now few years.
If the FTC is seeking to carry on business veterans like Whittaker, it could possibly be an additional signal that the company is getting severe about regulating Huge Tech. It may assist give some say to individuals who have the technical data and firsthand expertise working at corporations like Google, Amazon, Apple, or Meta, even when efforts to vary issues from inside had been largely ignored.