Tag Archives: Gizmodo

Googling sanity

There are several issues in the world. There is a game of Chicken going on between North Korea and America and the bets are off on who will fire first, but the smart money is on North Korea forgetting sanity and firing a missile to some US destination. Qatar is in more difficulty than it is willing to admit to and with the latest news that a large chunk of the traditional money bringers towards Qatar have left the nation or cut its ties with them is a new game changer that will set the path to some resolution, but no one will predict how it will fall. When we consider the news options as Qatar has allowed a Taliban office for hosting peace talks might have been done with the consent (read: approval) of the US, but for some the Taliban is a sore in the eye of existence, of many people. I accept that talks are essential towards any progress, yet in the light of current affairs, was the timing great? I actually do not know and I do not proclaim to know. In all this, whilst there are more issues seen in Europe with contaminated eggs, yet for many it will not sit, hinder of be seen as relevant. No many are looking towards Google. An engineer published some manifesto (read memo) and mayhem & chaos seems to be the tidal waves of a place that was seen as the most internally open as I have ever seen any place could possible see. I have been in some of the buildings and I have marvelled at the food, the workspaces and the openness of it all. I miss it nearly every day. It is the one place that truly tries to foster creativity as I see it. If I had a dorm room there it would be the most desired place of learning on the planet. So, what gives?

For the most I stayed away from the issues, yet with the Washington Post now reporting “last-minute cancellation of its much-anticipated town hall meeting late Thursday because of concerns over employee safety“, it is like watching horror unfold and I hope that the Washington Post is wrong or better stated massively incorrect (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-employees-face-fear-uncertainty-in-aftermath-of-divisive-memo/2017/08/11/5edd7a00-7ee1-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html), yet this is not some Murdoch publication, the only paper on the planet more reliable than the Post is the Times in the UK. What is interesting to see is how divided the media is. Kate Conger at Gizmodo (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/08/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-circulating-internally-at-google/) gives the full 10 page memo. Gizmodo makes the reference we all heard. Yet what I found amazing was that the amount of media giving us “The post comes as Google battles a wage discrimination investigation by the US Department of Labour, which has found that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles“, yet I have not seen any clear data proving this, the media gives us the quotes, yet not the evidence from any source. So, in that memo, when I read: “When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem” we need to ask is he wrong? There is even more strength with “Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices“. We might at this point question whether it is up to him to comment, yet in all this, he is asking questions at this point, questions that are valid and questions that matter. The problem might be that the timing was off by a large chunk and was it up to him to make that announcement. Yet in equal measure we need to ask, can we, as individuals hinder the freedom of speech and the freedom of expressions, whilst in opposition, the memo was leaked to the world as a leaked Google memo, which in light of other events gives an unnatural weight to the events and the items discussed. The paper in itself becomes a source of weighted bias, at this very early point with much more to read.

Yet, then we get the brilliant part, which is also a first weakness.

 

Left Biases Right Biases
Compassion for the weak

Disparities are due to injustices

Humans are inherently cooperative

Change is good (unstable)

Open

Idealist

Respect for the strong/authority

Disparities are natural and just

Humans are inherently competitive

Change is dangerous (stable)

Closed

Pragmatic

 

 

There is no denying this, yet the balance of harmony is missing, as I have always seen Google to be and felt Google was is a place of creation, creation can only be optimised through harmony than in some measure we should consider that a union of both the levels of tolerance we offer when we are compassionate and optionally ethical levels as we abide to the authority of the set rules of conduct. We are driven to extremes at times (overly left or right), yet in that path we only inhibit forward momentum, as we embrace a balance, we see the dinghy we are on not tip over drowning the lot of us. I here embrace balance, not compromise! In that compromise might be seen as watering the result of what was to be achieved. When I look at the bias of ‘Humans are inherently competitive‘ (right sided) and ‘Humans are inherently cooperative‘ (left sided), I ask within me is it that simple? I am not debating the right or wrong, yet consider in the path of creation. A person starts something that could be the greatest sight of the next waves of technology. It starts with waves of enthusiasm as the creation comes, yet with the discipline of the tedious tasks, it will never be completed, and the project never becomes a reality. I created in my mind a sequel to Skyrim (called: Restoration) in mere hours. Apart from all connected legal parts, I can never complete, or actually create it, because I cannot code to the levels required. I can code (read: script) complete data manipulations and look into data as only a few on this planet can, I have been around since the early mainframes, So as I could do anything with the data they hold, I do not and never expect to have the skills to create the programs like Palantir Gotham, or Palantir Metropolis that hold the data. I do not believe that there are too many alive with such a container load of skills, hence companies makes teams of people, all having their own part in this, all having the solutions that together can get the project successfully concluded. In this balance is the only way that this works, and if it is valid for the ‘small’ players like Palantir, than it will be exceedingly essential for a behemoth like Google or Apple to keep levels of balance.

My first issue comes with ‘Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech‘. You see when I see “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” I personally believe this setting to be wrong and incorrect. I heard a similar part in the legal environment. You see, one source (not the most reliable gave me that in 1970 10% of the first year law students were female. Now, a much better source also gives us “Women also were excluded from membership in the ABA until 1918 (Abel, 1989) and from the prestigious Association of the Bar of the City of New York until 1937 (Epstein, 1993). Consequently, they were kept from the networks through which lawyers gain contacts, referrals, and power“, so I am not trying to hide anything, yet that atmosphere had altered later on, the premise however is important to know. In addition we need to see “Women remained less than 5 percent of the enrolment at ABA-approved law schools until the 1970s (Abel, 1989). Both faculty and men students made the educational environment inhospitable to women“. This comes from ‘Women Entering the Legal Profession‘, you see that premise applies but is incorrect in IT as I see it. In 1979 when I entered the IT field, whenever I mentioned IT, close to 100% of the women (most men too) would response in negativity on IT as a profession, and on the subject video games that % only went up in negativity. You see in 1979-1983 IT was a nerd thing, nearly all women and many man steered clear. Now, I do not mind that they steered clear and it was always great to meet a woman in that field, especially when she had IT capabilities, yet until the early 90’s they were rare. When women became more commonplace in the early 90’s it was usually marketing or IT HR and then there were scores of them being handed the job because at times none of the man there wanted the job. So there was a huge imbalance in the workplace at that time, I did not see a clear levelling of IT knowledge to deeper part the mid 90’s, now this is what I personally witnessed. Yet in all this, the market place has (again as I personally saw it) not seen more decent levels of equilibrium until 10-15 years ago. So as I do not agree with the viewpoint given, I do see and understand that we will see ‘equal representation of women in tech and IT leadership‘ in the next 5 years, moreover, I expect that women in IT leadership will become dominant (read: surpassing the 50% mark) before 2025. The one clearly unacceptable part (without more evidence) is “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“, you see for the most, stress is caused in IT as people are confronted and forced to work with less realistic time lines. People who have to work 16 hours a day to get a project completed. Now, if they slacked the first two weeks it is one thing, yet when we see so called projects like a AAA game with the expected ‘annual new game‘ whilst remaining a AAA game, how realistic is that? The fact that the people around the projects can clearly see that it was the pretence of a highly likely neurotic male marketeer and his CEO to start that sliding slope, how will that affect the workplace and the senior managers on the job, whilst their income is partially set to expectations that could not be met under the least humane conditions? How are we to move forward from that?

Now, with the thousands of projects that places like Google runs, there is no way to give judgement on how it is set, but the paper does not give us those goods, so there is an issue on a few levels, not merely with Google, but with the paper. The view of James Damore, the question becomes debatable, yet is it an invalid one? You see, I have another issue, which I will address shortly, yet the paper overall asks questions, it asks good questions, and even if we do not agree with his views to a certain degree, the questions do not become less, or are lessened by the one asking them. We can state that as he is not part of the higher Google hierarchy, he might have been and should have been enabled to ask the questions, but on an internal level. I would go to the extent that someone like Pichai Sundararajan or Larry Page received the confidential memo, and they ended up having a discussion with the writer for the longest part of a day, perhaps even more time. Because it is statistically near impossible that this is the view of merely one person. The nice thing about Google is that it is a technological environment of creation, that means that a lot of minds are in a level of cohesion, Google could not function without any level of cohesion, no matter how diverse they are (read: become).

In this, my larger issue is with ‘The Harm of Google’s biases‘, you see, bias is not a differential of negativity, it is a method of course adjusting, if the harmony is a rational we would have the technological need for logic, which according to Mr Spock on the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise is ‘fascinating and not illogical‘, yet this rational can at that point only be driven by some form of passion, passion for the math, passion for the art or passion for the engineering principles, without that Google Home, the Google Pixel XL, or the Google Tome (UK NHS solution 2018/2019) would never become a reality, they would remain on the planning board, no patents filed, no code written. As it is in nature, so it must be in natural environments, only balance will get us there. So as I see ‘Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race‘, I do not oppose the existence, but I wonder why they were created. Consider that A Boston Southie, an African American growing up not having access to internet languages and other options. What is to be gotten from enabling him/her? Consider that as Google has united technology and art in their products, can you even consider what is to be gained if such a program brought even one new age Pauline Hopkins or Waring Cuney to Google? If it is art that started the coming of Apple Inc. finding the person to replace that piece of fruit would be worth funding entire universities for. Yet the realisation is that an exceedingly small part of the population gets to go to University (or College) and art is within a person, these tertiary places might spark art to evolve, but it is less likely to create the power than grow it within that person. His next statement continues this. With ‘A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates‘ we forget that these people have missed out on options for the longest time, they are at a disadvantage. Is it special treatment for ‘diversity’ or finding a solution for deaf and blind people to contribute? Even if it is not that black and white, getting the most complete view of all matters is what is at times essentials, so even as it sounds like an issue, putting all the diversity programs on one pyre seems disproportionate in other ways and as it burns we lose insight by the second. The other points require a lot more data than I have and as such I will pass them over, yet the afterword is a given reason to oppose. With “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 left ideology that can irreparably harm Google“. My issue here is that he might ask questions on issues of ‘morally and economically correct‘, yet I still see that as an internal thing and bringing that out into the open was not an issue of ‘freedom of speech‘, it is on certain matters of choice. You see the laundry gets done in the building (for more than one reason) and if there is a moral compass that is broken (if that was the case) than it needs to be addressed within the company, wherever it is, and until he has an economic degree and full knowledge on how billions are directed he started to be the person acting out of his league the moment he wrote those words on Google Docs (assumption of application use).

As I see it, we are not blind and it is up to some to others to see for us, sometimes even better if they are actually blind. So perhaps Google has other programs? If Google is all about showing us what there is to see, is it not equally important to have a group of people that can say ‘We hear something that does not belong‘, because the strobe that blinds us, often enough stops us in equal measure from hearing the issue. That is not some ‘word game’, at times, the corruption (read: actual damaged data) cannot be seen, it can be heard. Ask anyone who has been working in a server room; take a room with 15 racks, 15 servers and each server having 5 drives. Often enough you might not initially see the one that is an issue, but you will more often than not hear it, it will be the one that sounds different.

I have nothing against James Damore, I do not know him. I am not touching on his dismissal that is a Google issue. What I saw was a clever piece of paper and it is a piece of paper that matters, it has valid questions, yet I believe that James got hindered by his own vision, his view towards history, his view towards the scope of what he saw and the scope of what the firm he worked for is in size, scope and ability. Perhaps that is the one bias that works against Google. I loved that I literally has access to pretty much EVERYTHING in Google. It is more that you can comprehend unless you worked there; the amount of access is intoxicating. To see today what the world gets to see next year. At most time in any building hundreds are creating something in a scope where groups interact in technology and art. I have been in 3 buildings and I have seen photos from other places, whilst I am in the dark on how it is in at least 100 buildings. Could James see that scope or comprehend the issues that play? There is no doubt that there are issues at Google, the Post gave us that with “fears expressed by employees for their personal safety. Some of the town hall questions, as well as names of employees who criticized Damore’s memo, had been leaked to conservative websites and commentators, leading to apparent online harassment“, the fact that the media would push internal controversy to that extent is not realistic, so there are pressures, pressures that go way beyond the competition we saw in the Internship between the team and Max Minghella’s character (Graham Hawtrey). I personally wonder that as Google embraced diversity to the extent it did how has Google set the clocks on gaining balance and equilibrium of the mind and spirit? I have no idea and do not pretend to know. You see the games, the flippers, the bars, the exquisite kitchens are driving forces to push people forward, yet the issue of drive requires in equal measure a need for a stability factor, one that is not merely on top of people, but the stabiliser that can be grown within people. You see, in a world of consumer products and technology its importance is way higher than most realise. Consider being an athlete, a gamer, a barrister or a taxi driver. The morning you wake up not being able to stand your track, your console, your writ or your car. We can take a sickie, because we all have those moments, but what happens on day 2? The one elements we forgot about, we lived outside of the scope of balance and we waited for too long to straighten ourselves. That is what we get slugged with and with a driving place like Google or Apple for that matter, this balance is essential to survive the long haul, I wonder if that is what hit James? If so and he still was able to get that memo out after that, than Google might be best of to get him back into the fold, because whoever hires James might be well on the inside track of something else.

 

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