Former Google employee Meredith Whittaker could soon be working at the Federal Trade Commission as an AI policy advisor, according to a report by The Information. Whittaker may be best known for helping to organize a 2018 walkout at Google, where 20,000 employees protested against how the company handled alleged sexual harassment, and for leaving Google afterward, claiming that it had retaliated against her and other organizers. Now, the FTC seems to be in the process of hiring her to help shape regulations around AI and Big Tech.
According to The Information, Whittaker hasn’t been officially appointed yet, as steps like running a background check aren’t complete. If she is hired, though, she’ll bring a good deal of experience — she worked at Google from 2006 to 2019 and has done work around AI ethics since leaving the company.
Whittaker accused Google of only caring about the appearance of ethics debate
Besides helping with the walkout, Whittaker also advocated for Google to stop building AI for the military and spoke out against its ethics reviews, saying that it only gave the “appearance of an inclusive debate, rather than seriously contending with the problems in the company.” Upon leaving the company, she said that it was “clear” that it wasn’t a place where she could work toward tech accountability.
Whittaker has also dealt with difficulties in the public sphere — she worked on New York City’s algorithm task force, which was designed to…