Google canceled its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council just a little over a week after its announcement, according to a recent VOX report. On Wednesday, another board member, philosopher Luciano Floridi, said he hoped James would eventually bow to the pressure and resign on her own.
The board was formed to help create "responsible development of AI" at the company, but thousands of Googlers signed a petition calling for the removal of Kay Coles James from the board, owing to her comments about the trans community and her place as president of the Heritage Foundation, an organisation with a sceptical view of climate change. In response, Google has said that it is "going back the drawing board" and is ending the council. Another member, Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist and privacy researcher, had already dropped out of the group.
"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", the statement continued.
The panel had been announced at a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and had planned to meet four times in 2019.
Vox reports that the Silicon Valley tech giant has scrapped the group, which had been meant to scrutinise the company's work on artificial intelligence to ensure the tech is ethically developed.
Controversy followed nearly immediately after the Heritage Foundation president was named to the eight-person council, with some speculatingthat her addition was Google's attempt to appease conservative lawmakers who have accused the tech giant of anti-conservative bias. "But I was wrong, and the people who called me naive were right".