Thursday, August 10, 2017

Google; Men; Women

Physicist Bee has a somewhat complicated (I suppose some would say "nuanced") take on the matter of Google sacking that guy Damore.    As for me, it's outraged that alt.right, so I find it hard to be believe Google can be completely in the wrong! 

I think the NYT article "The Alt-Right Finds a New Enemy in Silicon Valley" is pretty good, and it notes that some hope it may be the start of a sort of right wing internet (which I think would not be a bad thing, as the alt.right's base is not, I reckon, as big as it thinks it is):
There is a certain poetic justice in the alt-right, largely an internet-based political movement, turning against the companies that enabled it in the first place. Like most modern political movements, the alt-right relies on tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter to rally supporters, collect donations and organize gatherings. In that sense, Silicon Valley progressivism isn’t just an ideological offense to the alt-right — it’s an operational threat.

In an attempt to build a buffer against censorship, some alt-right activists have begun creating their own services. Cody Wilson, who describes himself as a “techno-anarchist,” recently opened Hatreon, a crowdfunding site that bills itself as a free-speech alternative to Patreon. Gab, a Twitter clone, was started last year after Twitter barred several conservative users. RootBocks, a right-wing Kickstarter knockoff, bills itself as “a crowdfunding site that won’t shut you down because of your beliefs.”

These companies are still tiny by Silicon Valley standards, but their supporters say that one day they could serve as the foundation for a kind of parallel right-wing internet where all speech is allowed, no matter how noxious or incendiary.
In another NYT report on the matter, they do point one pretty good sounding reason why he was sacked:
Mr. Damore’s comments also raised another issue around Google’s peer-review system. Employees at the company are expected to judge their colleague’s work in a peer-review process that is essential to deciding whether someone gets promoted. By expressing certain beliefs — such as that women are more prone to anxiety — the concern was that he could no longer be impartial in judging female co-workers.

For a company steeped in a rich history of encouraging unconventional thinking, the problem was not that he expressed an unpopular opinion, but a disrespectful one, according to Yonatan Zunger, who left Google last week after 14 years at the company to join a start-up.

“We have a long history of disagreement over everything from technical issues to policy issues to the most mundane aspects of building management, and over all, that has been tremendously valuable,” Mr. Zunger said in an email. “The problem here was that this was disrespectful disagreement — and there’s really no respectful way to say, ‘I think you and people like you aren’t as qualified to do your job as people like me.”
Good point.

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