Google splits up a key AI ethics watchdog

  • Google’s primary internal AI ethics watchdog, RESIN, faces restructuring.
  • The restructuring involves dividing the team, with 10% remaining in RESIN and 90% transferring to trust and safety, emphasizing Google’s dedication to ethical AI practices.
  • Influential members, including Jen Gennai and Sara Tangdall, have left RESIN this month, prompting questions about the future of AI oversight at Google.

In Sundar Pichai‘s recent communication on Google‘s 2024 priorities, responsible AI development took precedence. However, concerns have arisen among employees about the company’s ability to uphold this goal. The internal AI ethics watchdog, Google’s Responsible Innovation team (RESIN), is undergoing restructuring following the sudden departure of its leader and founder, Jen Gennai, raising uncertainties about RESIN’s future role. Despite this, Google assures that RESIN’s work will persist in a strengthened form, emphasizing the company’s commitment to responsible AI.

RESIN is increasingly vital with the growth of generative AI

RESIN, housed within the Office of Compliance and Integrity in the global affairs division, played a vital role in reviewing internal projects for adherence to Google’s AI principles. This responsibility has become increasingly critical as Google competes in the rapidly evolving field of generative AI. The team conducted over 500 reviews last year, contributing significantly to Google’s commitment to ethical AI practices.

With Jen Gennai’s departure, the fate of RESIN appears uncertain, prompting Google to divide the team of approximately 30 people. While 10% will remain within RESIN, the majority, 90%, has been transferred to the trust and safety division, focused on combating abuse of Google services. Importantly, no layoffs have been reported, and Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel emphasises that the restructuring signals a commitment to responsible AI development.

Also read: Google’s X Lab faces restructuring amid financial challenges

Restructure details are lack of transparency

Despite these assurances, details about the restructuring’s rationale and how responsibilities will be distributed remain undisclosed. This lack of transparency has left employees unsure about the future handling of AI principles reviews. Gabriel declined to provide specifics on how RESIN’s work will be managed in the future but asserts that the reshuffle aims to integrate responsible AI efforts into Google’s well-established trust and safety initiatives, ultimately strengthening and scaling responsible innovation across the entire company.

Google is known for frequently reshuffling its ranks, but RESIN has largely been untouched since the group’s founding. Though other teams, and hundreds of additional people, work on AI oversight at Google, RESIN was the most prominent, with a remit covering all Google’s core services.

In addition to the departure of its leader, Gennai, RESIN also saw one of its most influential members, Sara Tangdall, lead AI principles ethics specialist, leave this month. She is now responsible AI product director at Salesforce, according to her LinkedIn profile. Tangdall declined to comment and Gennai didn’t respond to calls for comment.


Chloe Chen

Chloe Chen is a junior writer at BTW Media. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and had various working experiences in the finance and fintech industry. Send tips to

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