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Meredith Whittaker, a research scientist at NYU, addresses Google employees during a protest rally in New York in 2018. Photo by Bloomberg

Former Google Activist Whittaker Expected to Join FTC as AI Adviser

By  |  Nov. 1, 2021 4:00 PM PDT
Photo: Meredith Whittaker, a research scientist at NYU, addresses Google employees during a protest rally in New York in 2018. Photo by Bloomberg

Meredith Whittaker, a former employee activist and artificial intelligence researcher at Google, is expected to be hired full time at the Federal Trade Commission as a policy adviser on AI, according to a person with knowledge of her pending hire.

Her FTC appointment would indicate the agency’s plans to heighten scrutiny over how Google and other companies apply AI to their software products. The agency, under the leadership of Chair Lina Khan, has said it is prioritizing looking at how technology platforms and other large companies affect marginalized communities—an area where Whittaker could provide insights. Whittaker’s current role at a New York University research group focuses on the way AI developed by Google, Facebook and others can inadvertently contribute to gender, race and disability discrimination by displaying ads for certain high-paying jobs only to white male users, for instance, or showing highly sexualized content in search results when people look for information about women of color.

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