Monday, August 7, 2017

- Google's Tarnished Brand

The internal battles at Google wage on, and I can see only two possible outcomes.

1. Google, Facebook and Twitter are regulated at the Federal level mandating 'free speech', and taking the responsibility for content control out of their hands.

2. Google, Facebook, and Twitter so damage their brands as free and open advocates of Democratized Media, that competition springs up around them like weeds.

These are the only two alternatives in a world where one side makes the moral claim that the other side must be 'silenced'. And this is already very much the case.

The google screed' as it's been called, seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable and moderate discussion about the genetic components of personality, and their inevitable outcome. It isn't a 'white supremacist manifesto', it's a reasoned discussion of what any cognitive psychologist will tell you are the current scientific facts on the ground.

Yet the left insists that this view be 'silenced' for moral reasons. It's true, the facts mentioned in the internal google memo will have serious moral consequences. But that doesn't stop them from being facts.

And whatever the outcome, I can't imagine this is a place that the Google team worried about the bottom line, is happy about being in.


There was too much wine involved in dinner last night and it's only just occurred to me now that you guys might not have been as 'on top' of this story as I was. So I thought I'd drop a little explanation in about what the hell I was talking about.

A Harvard Educated employee of Google with a Biology PHD wrote a very modest and soft spoken 'Steven Pinker' style essay on Evolutionary Psychology and posted it on their internal message system. It emphasized the differences between the sexes rather than group IQ difference or race, and made the argument that it might be better to correctly identify the causes of why women don't find themselves rising in Tech in the same proportions as other careers. He pointed to differences in 'lifestyle' choices, and a difference in career preferences which inspire few women to enter tech in the first place. It was not a polemic piece, and simply argued that 'excellence' might be a better criteria to focus on along with gender diversity, instead of gender diversity alone.

Much Hilarity ensued.

The usual suspects now want him fired, and are threatening his life. If I were him I wouldn't take it seriously. When has the left ever done anything violent when there wasn't a mob at their back?

And I've got to say, after banging around the VC world for a few months now, to my Trader's eyes their devotion to 'women in tech' seems like an absolute cult. There are many VC funds across the spectrum of development stages that will ONLY invest in companies with women CEO's, and all the rest would fall all over themselves if a woman carried the pitch deck. Great lengths are being gone to in order to ensure that no women get's left out. It's partly emblematic of the Bay area culture, and partly of the insecure and vain nature of the industry itself.

But Evolutionary Psychology isn't going away. It's too elegant an answer to too many of the questions about why the way we behave the way we do, and it follows all the rules of science that we would expect. The more we learn, the more the theories are reinforced not negated. The current theories may not be 100% correct in every regard and there may be some error around the edges. But to my view this is going to become our generalized understanding of how we got here.

And Women and Minorities are sure to be hardest hit.

But the bay area is no doubt the last place they'll be willing to discuss it. And the man who tried to get google to have a reasoned conversation about it may have risked his job and career to do so. The guys on 4chan say that he's lawyered up, so he won't be fired right away. Google will wait for the drama to calm down, keep him in a closet until then, and push him out quietly later.

But in the meantime the image of google as a company devoted to Social Justice is reinforced in the public mind. And since Social Justice is all about silencing dissent, they make a poor arbiter for deciding which messages can and should be discussed. Either they're a free speech friendly advocate of Democratized Media, or they are advocates of the moral order of Social Justice. They can't be both.


Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I read the 'screed' whilst enjoying my morning coffee. What was written seemed perfectly reasonable to me. However, at Google, it appears it was the equivalent of Martin Luther nailing his Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. ANY discussion of innate differences between men and women is to engage in apostasy.

What I took out of the essay is that Google is already female dominated, given the restrictions on thought and speech. Google sounds like a slightly more extreme version of the Fortune 1000 sized company I worked at years ago and pretty much any modern day college campus.

Employment by Google may be hazardous for your testosterone levels.... In the case of the writer, I expect he will be discovered and terminated in short order.

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I would prefer alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, Google spring up than invite more government regulation. When the government manages private industry, private industry just becomes an arm of the government. I would expect in time, we would end up with internet version of the 'Fairness Doctrine' that will stifle speech on the Right instead of protecting it.

Some alternatives are already growing: ie. Duckduckgo instead of Google. My favorite, just because of the name, is an alternative to Patreon. Patreon like Youtube / Google has decided to de-monitize Alt-right/light. The name of the alternative? HATREON!

Hatreon... making the world safe for purveyors of hate facts.