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Expect Google to tighten the ideological echo chamber

Expect Google to tighten the ideological echo chamber

James Damore exposed intolerance at the tech giant, expect Google to learn the wrong lesson.

Some interesting developments in the case of James Damore, the Google Senior Software Engineer who now is a former Google Senior Software Engineer. He was fired after Google reacted badly to Damore’s memo challenging explanations for the relative lack of women in software engineering.

The memo was grossly misrepresented as being anti-diversity and anti-female in both the mainstream and tech media.

The most senior Google executives joined in that tactic. One of the worst posts was by the CEO of Google’s YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, who used her daughter as a prop to attack Damore:

Yesterday, after reading the news, my daughter asked me a question. “Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?” …

Some of those responding to the memo are trying to defend its authorship as an issue of free speech. As a company that has long supported free expression, Google obviously stands by the right that employees have to voice, publish or tweet their opinions. But while people may have a right to express their beliefs in public, that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender. Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments.

For instance, what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group? What if the memo said that biological differences amongst Black, Hispanic, or LGBTQ employees explained their underrepresentation in tech and leadership roles? Would some people still be discussing the merit of the memo’s arguments or would there be a universal call for swift action against its author? I don’t ask this to compare one group to another, but rather to point out that the language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.

I thought about all of this, looked at my daughter and answered simply.

“No, it’s not true.”

Damore had a good response to Wojcicki’s argument, stating (correctly) that she was attempting to divert from the actual substance of his memo and using guilt by association as a tactic. He made that point in this interview with Ben Shapiro:

Damore repeated the point in this Bloomberg interview:

Damore also took to the Wall Street Journal to explain, Why I Was Fired by Google

I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector. I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company’s code of conduct and “cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

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.”…

In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment. When I first circulated the document about a month ago to our diversity groups and individuals at Google, there was no outcry or charge of misogyny. I engaged in reasoned discussion with some of my peers on these issues, but mostly I was ignored.

Everything changed when the document went viral within the company and the wider tech world. Those most zealously committed to the diversity creed—that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and all people are inherently the same—could not let this public offense go unpunished. They sent angry emails to Google’s human-resources department and everyone up my management chain, demanding censorship, retaliation and atonement.

Upper management tried to placate this surge of outrage by shaming me and misrepresenting my document, but they couldn’t really do otherwise: The mob would have set upon anyone who openly agreed with me or even tolerated my views. When the whole episode finally became a giant media controversy, thanks to external leaks, Google had to solve the problem caused by my supposedly sexist, anti-diversity manifesto, and the whole company came under heated and sometimes threatening scrutiny.

I doubt any of this will change Google’s culture. If anything, given the attitudes and public statements of senior executives, the wrong lesson will be learned.

The lesson learned will be that the echo chamber needs to be even tighter. The price to be paid for disagreeing has been set.


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Petition your GOPe Congresspussy and your Conservative Congresspeople to pressure the fed to break-up google, facebook, amazon, etc.

    daniel_ream in reply to | August 11, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    None of those companies are monopolies, nor do they behave in monopolistic ways. There are no grounds for federal involvement in their activities.

    If you have problems with the way Google or Facebook operate, you should demand your money ba- OH WAIT

      What planet are you on? It aint earth.

      Break them up.

        Maybe, just maybe, you should make a reasoned argument as to why Google, Facebook, et al deserve the boot of government on their neck instead of “because.” What Google did was within their right, however morally bankrupt it may be, but using this “crisis” to justify government control is outright idiotic.

      facebookisfacist in reply to daniel_ream. | August 12, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      What world you you live in?

      Do you not recall how they colluded to eliminate competition for technical talent?

      Controlling search, the cloud, and the hardware platform is enough to raise monopoly warning signs. Toss the billions in Gov’t contracts, case closed. You need to learn a bit more about how these systems work.

That’s what CNN did by firing Jeffrey Lord.

“what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group? What if the memo said that biological differences amongst Black, Hispanic, or LGBTQ employees”

Red herring. In the debate between nature and nurture, this idiot (and many many more just like her) insists that nature simply doesn’t exist.

    Matt_SE in reply to irv. | August 11, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    “what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group? What if the memo said that biological differences amongst Black, Hispanic, or LGBTQ employees”

    If blacks, Hispanics, or LGBTQ voluntarily avoided computer science work like women do, then the memo would be as justified as it is now.

    I guess the person making this argument sees nothing absurd about an invisible code being inflicted on women while every other non-female minority is given a pass.
    Doesn’t it sound just like bigots to do that?

      PrincetonAl in reply to Matt_SE. | August 11, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      Any differences that exist between men and women but not between Blacks and Hispanics? or Caucasians and Asians? (not that ancestry is so easily separated into such distinct labels, nor do I particularly accept them, but that is the question asked).

      Couple come to mind. Ability to give birth. Different average ranges of testosterone. Estrogen levels. These are not cosmetic differences. These are different enough that we have separate divisions for mens and womens sports and very few have an issue with it, but we long ago properly and belatedly did away with the evils of segregation in sports based on race.

      Whether they have an impact on the average ability in field of computer engineering, I don’t know and doubt its significant if it were to exist, but I guess its possible although I am skeptical based on my own experience.

      Everyone should be judged as an individual, and no one should be discriminated against on the basis of gender or race. Woman have achieved equality and more or near equality in many STEM fields (veterinary, graduate math programs, biology, a number of healthcare fields, etc.), so I don’t know why they can’t achieve the same in Computer Engineering. I have known many talented individuals (including close female relatives of mine who have masters in Comp Sci)

      But to deny differences between the sexes or to make discussion of differences in gender equivalent to a racist discussion is unhelpful. Discussing these differences is in fact important to note and study in healthcare, sports, military fields and possibly others. That is not bigotry or sexism.

      I think it deliberately miscasts many peoples point to say that their are no differences between the sexes and that anyone who wants to explore or understand those differences is just a closet sexist looking to oppress woman or keep from hiring them.

      And the more people try to suppress this debate, the less reasoned and more heated the debate becomes. If you think someone is making a sexist argument, the antidote to bad speech is more speech. If that sexism manifests itself in actual bad workplace actions or environment, the company should fire them. Its bad business.

      But at a broader level, let people engage in the debate.

        InEssence in reply to PrincetonAl. | August 11, 2017 at 11:25 pm

        I have worked in this field for a long time. Women and some men leave because it doesn’t involve people. That leaves fewer senior women, and thus the disparity is from that.

        The solution is not to fire people who discuss it, but rather to leverage the differences into something positive. Grace Hopper, who had the first compiler, language, and open source project on her resume, was sharp enough to do that on her own. She wrote to explain how others should do it, but no one tries to implement her insight.

        From what I read the core of the paper is not about programming ability so much as desire to go into the field and what the wants of females are. They often have differing preferences from males. Duh.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Youtube “demonetized” pro-Trump channels this week. I further would not be surprised the order came directly from Susan Wojcicki.

Leftist bigots (redundant, I know) have zero self-awareness. Inseparable from the totalitarian mindset.

    Daiwa in reply to Daiwa. | August 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    “Part & parcel of the totalitarian mindset.” Makes more sense & what I was really trying to say.

You got the name wrong. It’s goolag.
I just felt I should fix that typo before reading.
Now I am going to read the article and comment in an informed way.

From my reading, Google is financially a house of cards. The spin offs are dead ends, the only thing keeping the company afloat is a small group of coders updating search algorithms and Adshare (I may have mangled the name therd, memory fuzzy). If they decide it’s time to get out (they are worker bees, not SJWs) the company is doomed.

And now Gulag has the full attention of Wikileaks. You’ve seen how outrageously 1984 their manager’s public remarks have been, just imagine how bad their internal emails will read.

Death to Google.

I am working diligently to rid myself of Google. When a company becomes focused on something other than money then they are no longer interested in making money and when they are no longer interested in making money then what function do they serve? I saw this happen with Washington Mutual. I was a long term customer with them and when the tellers and managers stopped being responsive to my needs I left. One year later they were gone. Thankfully I didn’t have money with them to try and recover what a nightmare that would have been. I see the same pattern with Google. I have something far more valuable with them and I am going to start withdrawing that because I don’t know how they will handle it.

The funny part of all of this is, who are Google’s customers?

    PrincetonAl in reply to Shane. | August 11, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    The advertisers are Google’s customers.

    Google’s tools are the channel to the product.

    We are the product (that is, access to advertise to us and information about us to use in those ads – that is what they are selling).

      I disagree. The customers are really us. We “pay” Google to use their stuff by allowing them to advertise to us. If we stop going to Google then we “the product” go away. Google didn’t make us, it attracted us.

      My point about who are Google’s customers is a point about the demographic that uses Google’s products. The same group that advertisers are paying Google to get access to. The same group that Google so desperately despises.

        TX-rifraph in reply to Shane. | August 12, 2017 at 4:25 am

        I think the advertisers are goolag’s direct customers and we are goolag’s indirect customers as customers of the advertisers. You are both right. Any customer in the chain can break the support.

      TX-rifraph in reply to PrincetonAl. | August 12, 2017 at 4:33 am

      I still remember this WH press release from March 17, 2000:

      I have avoided S&W ever since.

      I am now looking at who advertises with Google. By myself, I can only quiet my own conscience. But I think S&W did go through some tough financial times after the 2000 agreement and I think others learned something.

“No, it’s not true.”
Said Michael to Kay.
Said Susan to her daughter.

An interesting article that I don’t have the expertise to comment on. But its the kind of thing we should be free to debate without judgment.

“Workplace political correctness” is essentially another way of saying “you will always agree with us; we are god. You may have a mind of your own but not on our time. On our time we OWN your mind because we’re paying you.”

I miss the days when abstract thought was encouraged. That’s where ideas, concepts, and new products come from. Apparently the whole theme these days is “learn the goose-step; it’s the NEW way of walking.”

@Shane, I had a similar experience with RadioShack. Now they are goooone! Although as I age, I’m astonished by the number of companies who don’t seem to care about customer service. They seem to think they can bully me, but darn those plate glass Windows are a bother to replace. Heh.

But come on Shane, you’re really not comfortable with Google auto-piloting your car?

“I am sorry Shane but I cannot allow you to do that. Your views on Hillary Clinton are problematic”

“The advertisers are the customer”

Same for the media. All the hyperbolic drek is the result oc needing to push ratings to attract advertising dollars. Just look a Rachel Maddow’s stupid show – sure, her election predictions re Trump made her look moronic, but when the dust settled she had a #1 show. She “won’ because she got the ratings, which got the advertising dollars.

It’s why the MSM is willing to distort the truth and publish leaks that damage the nation. Ratings for advertising dollars. Gin up race riots in Baltimore and Ferguson to attract advertising dollars.

I feel like I keep tracing evil acolytes back to the Shadow Lord in some Marvel Universe. We want to take down the likes of CNN and Google when it really appears thaf the advertising industry is the cause behind all the strife.

Every time I see this video I’m saddened deeply. By the skinniest most forlorn bookcase I’ve ever seen.

    Matt_SE in reply to bour3. | August 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Don’t worry, it’s just the safe house he’s in. The witness protection program isn’t lavish.

“For instance, what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group?”

While we’re doing “What ifs…”

What if we substituted James Damore with the name Muhammad Yazimi? And what if we substituted his references to science with quotes from the Quran?

Would Google be so quick to fire Muhammad?

We have a tech startup in a vital and vibrant college town. We hired a 26 year old female programmer at a salary of $150,000 plus relocation expenses and an apartment. There was no denying her skills, obviously based on her salary point, and she did not disappoint. She worked with two other programmers in an office designed for her team. She lasted three months before she moved back home because she didn’t like working in such an isolated environment. Day after day sitting on over-sized couches in front of white boards and 60 inch tv monitors. The male programmers loved the same environment.

Is this a male-female thing? Hard to say and only Leftists and Liberals are allowed to use anecdotal evidence to support their positions, but I know that if you go on and put in programmers, you’ll find only 10% to 20% of the people who choose to put themselves out there as programmers will be female or ze (hey, I’m trying to appear woke here). These females CHOOSE to look for these positions. Nobody is going out and telling them that programming is not for people like them.

I worked for years in the trash business and never once saw a female on the trucks. Is this discrimination, or do females CHOOSE not to take trash hauling and collecting positions?

My daughters have CHOSEN to take teaching, physical therapy and nutritionist positions. Two of them are math and science geniuses. All of them love working with people and would have gone insane sitting in even the coolest hi-tech offices, no matter how much money they could have made.

My fourth daughter, also a math genius (they get it from their mother) but has CHOSEN to pursue a degree in media management. She’ll be running Google some day. Right now though, she wants to be the next Ninja Warrior and nobody is telling her that she doesn’t have a chance.

I think it was somebody here who recommended DuckDuckGo for internet searches. I’ve been using it for several days and it seems to work fine. Searches for locations bring up Apple Maps rather than Google, and since I don’t use gmail, I’m pretty much out.

Strong ideas and values stand up to questioning and criticism in the light of day. Google’s values can only stand up behind closed doors and through the use of coercion, intimidation and force. A good portion of society being willing to participate in this level of group think doesn’t hurt them either.

Until a large portion of people choose to be the invisible hand, Google has the muscle to force this. Make no mistake, first Amazon came for the confederate flag on toy cars and no one did anything. The market has given these companies the muscle to get away with this stuff.

One solution is to slowly migrate off of Google products. I’ve replaced Chrome with the Brave browser and am very happy with it. I use the DuckDuckGo search engine as often as possible.

Still haven’t found an alternative to Google Docs.