Dismiss Notice
Welcome to IDF- Indian Defence Forum , register for free to join this friendly community of defence enthusiastic from around the world. Make your opinion heard and appreciated.

Google's Ideological Echo Chamber

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by omya, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    [​IMG]

    "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber"
    , also known as "the Google memo", originated as an internal memo, dated July 2017, by US-based Google engineer James Damore about Google's diversity policies. Damore argued that Google had shut down the conversation about diversity,[1] and that Google has engaged in legally doubtful discriminative policies to increase diversity, Damore also posited that "the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership..." and suggested alternative methods to increase diversity.[2] Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded by saying that parts of the memo "[advanced] harmful gender stereotypes", and fired Damore for allegedly violating the company's code of conduct.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google's_Ideological_Echo_Chamber

    The document that got James fired from Google
    This is the full document, with internal Google links and preamble removed, and edited purely for formatting purposes. A broader document can be found here.

    TL;DR

    • Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
    • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
    • The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
      • Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
      • Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
    • Differences in distributions of traits between men and women (and not “socially constructed oppression”) may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership.
    • Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.
    Background

    People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document. Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it’s a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

    Google’s biases

    At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices:

    Left Biases
    Compassion for the weak
    Disparities are due to injustices
    Humans are inherently cooperative
    Change is good (unstable)
    Open
    Idealist

    Right Biases
    Respect for the strong/authority
    Disparities are natural and just
    Humans are inherently competitive
    Change is dangerous (stable)
    Closed
    Pragmatic


    Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

    Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

    Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech

    At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.

    On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:

    • They’re universal across human cultures
    • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
    • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
    • The underlying traits are highly heritable
    • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective
    Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

    [​IMG]
    Personality Differences:

    Women, on average, have more:

    • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
      • These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
    • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
      • This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
    • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).
      • This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.
    Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that “greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.” Because as “society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality traits becomes wider.” We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

    Men’s higher drive for status

    We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

    Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

    Higher variance among men

    Among most psychological characteristics, including IQ, populations of men have higher variance than women even when the average is the same: there are more men on both the top and the bottom of the curve.

    This may lead to more male CEOs and geniuses, but also more homeless males and school dropouts. This has likely evolved because individual males can have many children and are biologically disposable: populations are reproductively constrained by the number of its women, not men. The historically higher variance of outcome can also be seen in our genetics; we have twice as many female ancestors as male ancestors. As a corollary, if Googlers are only from the top of the curve, then this may cause us to have more men than other, less selective, tech companies.

    Non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

    Below I’ll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and how we can address them to increase women’s representation in tech without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it’s still instructive to list them:

    • Women show a higher interest in people and men in things
      • We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles at Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).
    • Women are more cooperative
      • Allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive. Recent updates to Perf may be doing this to an extent, but maybe there’s more we can do, especially in our interviews.
      • This doesn’t mean that we should remove all competitiveness from Google. Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn’t necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what’s been done in education.
    • Women are more prone to anxiety
      • Make tech and leadership less stressful. Google already partly does this with its many stress reduction courses and benefits.
    • Women look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status
      • Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men will be disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing part time work though can keep more women in tech.
    • The male gender role is currently inflexible
      • Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally “feminine” roles.
    Philosophically, I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principled reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google—with Google’s diversity being a component of that. For example, currently those willing to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google’s funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

    The harm of Google’s biases

    To achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

    • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race
    • A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
    • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
    • Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
    • Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination
    These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled neo-Marxist ideology that can irreparably harm Google.

    Why we’re blind

    We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change), the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren’t on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social sciences lean left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap. Google’s left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we’re using to justify highly politicized programs.

    In addition to the Left’s affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and agreeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and a whiner. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side”; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is being spent to water only one side of the lawn.

    This same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness, which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftist protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silent, psychologically unsafe environment.

    Suggestions

    I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

    My concrete suggestions are to:

    • De-moralize diversity.
      • As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”
    • Stop alienating conservatives.
      • Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
      • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
      • Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.
    • Confront Google’s biases.
      • I’ve mostly concentrated on how our biases cloud our thinking about diversity and inclusion, but our moral biases are farther reaching than that.
      • I would start by breaking down Googlegeist scores by political orientation to give a fuller picture into how our biases are affecting our culture.
    • Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.
      • These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.
    • Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.
      • Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.
      • There’s currently very little transparency into the extent of our diversity programs which keeps it immune to criticism from those outside its ideological echo chamber.
      • These programs are highly politicized which further alienates non-progressives.
      • I realize that some of our programs may be precautions against government accusations of discrimination, but that can easily backfire since they incentivize illegal discrimination.
    • Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.
      • We should focus on psychological safety, which has shown positive effects and should (hopefully) not lead to unfair discrimination.
      • We need psychological safety and shared values to gain the benefits of diversity.
      • Having representative viewpoints is important for those designing and testing our products, but the benefits are less clear for those more removed from UX.
    • De-emphasize empathy when making policy decisions.
      • I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on individual anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.
    • Prioritize intention.
      • Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offence and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.
      • Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.
    • Be open about the science of human nature.
      • Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.
    • Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.
      • We haven’t been able to measure any effect of our Unconscious Bias training and it has the potential for overcorrecting or backlash, especially if made mandatory.
      • Some of the suggested methods of the current training (v2.3) are likely useful, but the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown.
      • Spend more time on the many other types of biases besides stereotypes. Stereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests (I’m not advocating for using stereotypes, I’m just pointing out the factual inaccuracy of what’s said in the training).

    1. This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google’s Mountain View campus, I can’t speak about other offices or countries.
    2. Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I’d be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.
    3. Throughout the document, by “tech”, I mostly mean software engineering.
    4. For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.
    5. Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, and countless other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.
    6. Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.
    7. Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”
    8. Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of aristocracy.
    9. Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employee sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.
    10. “The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men’s problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak.”
    11. Political correctness is defined as “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against,” which makes it clear why it’s a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.
    https://firedfortruth.com/

    GOOGLE IS EVIL


    IT'S BAD ENOUGH when you run a search company in an increasingly social world. It's worse when anti-trust regulators say you have unfairly and illegally used your dominance in search to promote your own products over those of competitors. Now Google executives, who like to boast of their company's informal motto, "Don't Be Evil," also stand accused of being just that – and rightly so. What other interpretation is possible in light of persistent allegations that the internet titan deliberately engaged in “the single greatest breach in the history of privacy” and "one of the biggest violations of data protection laws that we had ever seen?”

    [#contributor: /contributors/5932413644db296121d69eea]||||||

    Google's history of anti-social social networks and anti-trust trust relations that deceptively breach online consumer privacy and trust has already begun to threaten its longstanding web hegemony and its vaunted brand. Now the company's repeatedly defensive and dishonest responses to charges that its specially equipped Street View cars surreptitiously collected private internet communications – including emails, photographs, passwords, chat messages, and postings on websites and social networks – could signal a tipping point.

    With the phenomenally successful and profitable internet giant being newly scrutinized by consumers, competitors, regulators and elected officials alike, all concerned about basic issues of privacy, trust and anti-trust, the question must be raised: Is Google facing an existential threat? With government regulators nipping at its heels on both sides of the Atlantic, Facebook leading in the race for attention and prestige, and "social" beginning to replace "search" as a focus of online activity, the company that revolutionized our means of finding information just a decade ago now finds itself increasingly under siege and in danger of fading from prominence to become, in essence, the "next Microsoft."

    Who gave these new media companies the right to invade our privacy without our permission or knowledge and then secretly store the data until they can figure out how to profit from it in the future?That possibility came into sharper focus recently when fed-up European regulators gave the company an ultimatum – change your lying ways about your anticompetitive practices in search, online advertising and smartphone software or face the consequences. Regulators in the United States are poised to follow suit.

    Meanwhile, the secret Street View data collection has already led to inquiries in at least a dozen countries. Yet Google still refuses to 'fess up and supply an adequate explanation of what it was up to, why the data was collected and who knew about it. To date, no domestic regulator has even seen the information that Google gathered from American citizens. Instead, Google chose first to deny everything, then blamed a programming mistake involving experimental software, claimed that no use of the illicit data in Google products was foreseen, and said that a single "rogue" programmer was responsible for the whole imbroglio. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined instead that the data collection was no accident, that supervisors knew all about it and that Google in fact “intended to collect, store and review” the data “for possible use in other Google products,” and fined Google for obstructing the investigation.

    Google's response to the FCC was not unusual. At every step of the way, the company has delayed, denied and obstructed investigations into its data collection. It has consistently resisted providing information to both European and American regulators and made them wait months for it – as well as for answers as to why it was collected. Company executives even had the temerity to tell regulators they could not show them the collected data, because to do so might be breaking privacy and wiretapping laws! As Bradford L. Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, told The New York Times while citing Google's stated mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," it seems "Google's practice is to prevent others from doing the same thing."

    Given its record, and with so little accountability, how can any of us trust Google – or other Internet giants like Facebook, which now faces its own privacy and anti-trust concerns? Who gave these new media companies the right to invade our privacy without our permission or knowledge and then secretly store the data until they can figure out how to profit from it in the future?

    No one, obviously ... and as a direct result of their arrogant behavior, both Google and Facebook now face the possibility of eventual showdowns with regulators, the biggest to hit Silicon Valley since the US government went after Microsoft more than a decade ago. Their constant privacy controversies have also caused politicians to begin taking notice. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, for example, who is in charge of a subcommittee on privacy, noted in a recent speech that companies such as Google and Facebook accumulated data on users because "it's their whole business model. And you are not their client; you are their product."

    Small wonder that Google co-founder Larry Page is feeling "paranoid", as the Associated Press recently reported. Why? As I detail in my new book Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands and Killing Traditional Media, as the new "contextual web" takes the place of the data-driven web of the early 21st century, it will mean further bad news for Google – even though the company still sold $36.5 billion in advertising last year. Couple Google's paranoia about Facebook and the evident failure of its latest social network, Google Plus, with its problems about privacy, trust and anti-trust, and it's no surprise that executives are feeling paranoid. After all, they are facing the very real prospect of waging a defensive war on many fronts – social, privacy, and trust – simultaneously. Despite its incredible reach, power and profit, it's a war that Google – the 21st century equivalent of the still-powerful but increasingly irrelevant Microsoft – may well be destined to lose, along with the trust its users have long extended to one of the world's most powerful brands.

    Editor: Caitlin Roper

    https://www.wired.com/2012/06/opinion-google-is-evil/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2017
    Wolfpack likes this.
  2. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,855
    Likes Received:
    1,740
    it's one of the biggest turd salad's I've ever seen.
    I can't understand how they stopped with just sacking him. I'm sure he's a Macdonald's fry cook now.
     
    Levina and Agent_47 like this.
  3. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    lol he is being offered job by julian assange... and everything he mentioned is truth a guy who hides himself as someone behind the keyboard doesnt know what he is talking abt
     
    Wolfpack likes this.
  4. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,855
    Likes Received:
    1,740
    that's why I called it turd salad, all turds come together to make this salad
     
  5. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    that thing is smarter than u r he is a coder not a gr8 talker

    And this is Google
    [​IMG]
     
    Wolfpack likes this.
  6. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,855
    Likes Received:
    1,740
    Thank God google has policy not to employ people like 'it'
     
  7. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    dont look at google as a god they r new failing pile of garbage it is going from the same phase yahoo went through in 2003.
    duckduckgo search engine had a 5 million new users after the james damore case went viral
     
    Wolfpack likes this.
  8. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,855
    Likes Received:
    1,740
    it says grapes are sour
     
  9. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    u r wasting time
     
  10. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    Fired Google Engineer James Damore


     
  11. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    The Culture Wars Have Come to Silicon Valley

    [​IMG]
    Peter Thiel, left, and Reed Hastings. Mr. Thiel, a member of Facebook’s board of directors, was told by Mr. Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, that he would receive a negative evaluation of his performance on the board because of his support for Donald J. Trump.CreditPhoto Illustration by Andy Chen/The New York Times. Photos by Andrew White for The New York Times; Justin Sullivan, via Getty Images
    The culture wars that have consumed politics in the United States have now landed on Silicon Valley’s doorstep.

    That became clear this week after Google on Monday fired a software engineer, James Damore, who had written an internal memo challenging the company’s diversity efforts. The firing set off a furious debate over Google’s handling of the situation, with some accusing the company of silencing the engineer for speaking his mind. Supporters of women in tech praised Google. But for the right, it became a potent symbol of the tech industry’s intolerance of ideological diversity.

    Silicon Valley’s politics have long skewed left, with a free-market’s philosophy and a dash of libertarianism. But that goes only so far, with recent episodes putting the tech industry under the microscope for how it penalizes people for expressing dissenting opinions. Mr. Damore’s firing has now plunged the nation’s technology capital into some of the same debates that have engulfed the rest of the country.

    Such fractures have been building in Silicon Valley for some time, reaching even into its highest echelons. The tensions became evident last year with the rise of Donald J. Trump, when a handful of people from the industry who publicly supported the then-presidential candidate faced blowback for their political decisions.

    At Facebook, Peter Thiel, an investor and member of the social network’s board of directors, was told he would receive a negative evaluation of his board performance for supporting Mr. Trump by a peer, Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix. And Palmer Luckey, a founder of Oculus VR, a virtual reality start-up owned by Facebook, was pressured to leave the company after it was revealed that he had secretly funded a pro-Trump organization.

    [​IMG]
    An email sent to Peter Thiel last Aug. 14 by Reed Hastings.

    Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, said Mr. Damore’s comments carried additional weight to people on either side of the political spectrum because he was an engineer at Google, one of the world’s biggest technology companies.

    Alongside other giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple, these companies “are seen as pillars of our society,” Mr. Galloway said. “Controversy and statements that emanate from these employees take on a different heft.”

    The technology industry has long marched in lock step on issues such as supporting immigration and diversity, even though their companies remained largely male, white and Asian. But last year’s election of Mr. Trump — with his broadsides against political correctness, his coarse language toward women and his actions to restrict immigration and deny climate change — seemed to threaten many of those ideals.

    At the same time, Mr. Trump’s words may have made dissenters in the tech industry more comfortable about speaking out.

    “Trump, in a sense, licensed people to express what some people would call politically incorrect thoughts,” said Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia University’s Business School. “Then there’s the other force that a lot of Trump’s policies go against the inclusive ideals these companies espouse.”

    At Google, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive, said in an email on Monday that Mr. Damore was fired for violations of the company’s code of conduct, specifically his perpetuation of “harmful gender stereotypes” in the workplace. Mr. Damore had argued that biological reasons might explain the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry, causing widespread outrage inside and outside Google. In his defense, Mr. Damore said he had a right to express himself and said he was considering legal action against Google for firing him.

    Amy Siskind, president of the New Agenda, a women’s advocacy group, tweeted that Mr. Damore is “every white male Trump voter feeling threatened” that women and people of color, “if given an equal chance, will reveal his mediocrity.”

    Mr. Damore’s memo and dismissal transformed him into a hero on right-wing news sites like Breitbart, which has long criticized the political leanings of the tech industry.

    Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said on Twitter that “censorship is for losers” and offered to hire Mr. Damore. Steven Pinker, a Harvard University cognitive scientist, said on Twitter that Google’s actions could increase support for Mr. Trump in the tech industry.

    “Google drives a big sector of tech into the arms of Trump: fires employee who wrote memo about women in tech jobs,” Dr. Pinker wrote.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/technology/the-culture-wars-have-come-to-silicon-valley.html
     
    Wolfpack likes this.
  12. nair

    nair Die hard Romeo IDF NewBie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes Received:
    2,251
    Country Flag:
    India
    Thread cleaned and members warned..... Stick to topic....
     
    Soumya and omya like this.
  13. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    Damore: I was fired because of 'ideological echo chamber' at Google

    James Damore, the engineer fired by Google after penning a memo criticizing the company's diversity policy, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining "Why I was fired by Google."

    Needless to say, the reasons he gives are not a surprise.

    My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company's "ideological echo chamber." My firing neatly confirms that point. How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument?

    We all have moral preferences and beliefs about how the world is and should be. Having these views challenged can be painful, so we tend to avoid people with differing values and to associate with those who share our values. This self-segregation has become much more potent in recent decades. We are more mobile and can sort ourselves into different communities; we wait longer to find and choose just the right mate; and we spend much of our time in a digital world personalized to fit our views.

    Google is a particularly intense echo chamber because it is in the middle of Silicon Valley and is so life-encompassing as a place to work. With free food, internal meme boards and weekly companywide meetings, Google becomes a huge part of its employees' lives. Some even live on campus. For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of "Don't be evil."

    Echo chambers maintain themselves by creating a shared spirit and keeping discussion confined within certain limits. As Noam Chomsky once observed, "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."

    But echo chambers also have to guard against dissent and opposition. Whether it's in our homes, online or in our workplaces, a consensus is maintained by shaming people into conformity or excommunicating them if they persist in violating taboos. Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don't conform.

    Read the whole thing for an intelligent assessment of the entire affair.

    This is a case that should be studied by social scientists. The gap in understanding between what Damore wrote and how the left chose to interpret it is astonishing. I don't think there's any doubt that few on the left bothered to read the entire ten-page Damore memo. And if they did, they saw what they wanted to see, picking and choosing the parts that transgressed against the overpowering groupthink present in Google corporate culture.

    This selective interpretation allows that dominant ideology to flourish and smack down dissenters without having to address the valid points made. In truth, Damore couldn't have been unaware of this. What did he think the reaction would be to his point about there being biological differences between men and women that contribute to the lack of female engineers at the company?

    Damore may be a talented engineer, but he's not a biologist. There may, indeed, be biological differences between the sexes that keep women from excelling in engineering and other sciences. But Damore isn't qualified to discuss them in a scientific context.

    That said, there are definitely cultural differences in education that discourage women from taking up the sciences. That is something we can change, and encouraging young girls to study STEM subjects would bring more females into those disciplines.

    To deliberately misinterpret what someone writes or says in order to maintain control over the thinking of employees is evil. Google should change its motto from "Don't be evil" to "Be evil only when it suits the narrative."

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog...se_of_ideological_echo_chamber_at_google.html
     
  14. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    Google Stuck in an ‘Ideological Echo Chamber’

    [​IMG]
    A man holds his smartphone which displays the Google home page. An internal memo published by a disgruntled senior software engineer has sent the company into turmoil as it faces an investigation over an alleged "gender pay gap."

    An anonymous "senior software engineer" at Google has set Silicon Valley on fire with a 10-page "hot take" on the culture of political correctness and generally left-leaning politics within the company.

    Reportedly an "anti-diversity manifesto," the document was first reported by the technology blog Motherboard on Saturday, and has since "gone internally viral" within the tech company. Another technology news website, Gizmodo, got its hands on the full document, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" later in the day, and has since reported on the company's internal response to the document.

    http://www.trunews.com/article/engineer-google-stuck-in-an-ideological-echo-chamber
     
  15. omya

    omya Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,556
    Likes Received:
    3,828
    Country Flag:
    India
    Google Fires Employee Who Dared Challenge its Ideological Echo Chamber

    Of course Google did this. Of course an increasingly radical progressive enclave can’t handle thoughtful critiques of its ideological monoculture. Here’s Bloomberg: Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley. James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” A Google representative didn’t immediately return a request for comment. Google forecast the move earlier today when its CEO Sundar Pichai said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” I’m going to write a longer piece about this, but this reaffirms a fundamental reality – key sectors of our economy are not only increasingly politicized, they’re increasingly radicalized. Eric Schmidt has said that one of Google’s founding values was “freedom of expression.” In reality, you’re only free to toe the party line. Google is a private company and has wide legal latitude to discipline its employees for their speech, but make no mistake — this is a direct assault on the American culture of free speech. It’s a sad fact that your economic opportunities depend not just on your skills, talents, and the way you treat employees or customers but also on your political opinions. Progressive corporate America is bifurcating economic opportunity, and that’s a very bad thing indeed.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corne...-dared-challenge-its-ideological-echo-chamber
     

Share This Page