The Good Robot

Margaret Mitchell on Large Language Models and Misogyny in Tech

July 12, 2022 University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies
The Good Robot
Margaret Mitchell on Large Language Models and Misogyny in Tech
Show Notes

In the race to produce the biggest language model yet, Google has now overtaken Open AI’s GPT-3 and Microsoft’s T-NLG with a 1.6 trillion parameter model. In 2021, Meg Mitchell was fired from Google, where she was co-founder of their Ethical AI branch, in the aftermath of a paper she co-wrote about why language models can be harmful if they’re too big. In this episode Meg sets the record straight. She explains what large language models are and what they do, why they’re so important to Google. She tells us why it's a problem that these models don’t understand the significance or meaning of the data that they are trained on, which means that wikipedia data can influence what these models take to be historical fact. She also tells us about how some white men are gatekeeping knowledge about large language models, as well as the culture, politics, power and misogyny at Google that led to her firing.