Google has announced that it is winding down its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) just a week after it was formed. The closure of the council comes as Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James attracted attention over previous political comments they’d made. Additionally, the inclusion of Dyan Gibbens, CEO of Trumbull Unmanned, a drone company, was troubling to Google employees who previously spoke out against Google helping military projects.
Since the council was announced, Alessandro Acquisti announced on Twitter that he wouldn’t be participating, and Joanna Bryson, a professor at the University of Bath, initially defending her decision to stay on the board but after the closure was announced referred to herself as naive.
In a statement, Google said:
“It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics.”
Google’s reasons for including people from all over the political spectrum was so that it could be more representative as a whole. It’ll be interesting now to see how Google plans to build an external team to ensure accountability, while also maintaining a body of people with differing views on the world.