Res Ipsa Loquitur

Ezra Klein writes a piece titled: Behind the Google diversity memo furor is fear of Google’s vast, opaque power.

Good point. For example, another headline: Google accused of manipulating searches, burying negative stories about Hillary Clinton.
For example, when typing “Hillary Clinton cri,” Google’s auto-complete function brings up as its top choice “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” even though competing search engines Bing and Yahoo show the most popular search topics are “Hillary Clinton criminal charges” and “Hillary Clinton crime.”

While that could reflect legitimate differences in the engines’ algorithms, Mr. Lieberman said that a search of “Hillary Clinton crime reform” on Google trends showed that “there weren’t even enough searches of term to build a graph on the site.”

“Which begs the question, why on Earth is it the first potential result?” he said, adding, “Apparently far more people are searching for ‘Hillary Clinton crimes’ than ‘Hillary Clinton crime reform.’ Google just doesn’t want you to know or ask.”
Is that a real problem? Maybe Google just knows that this particular author was really interested in crime reform in other contexts, and built that out of his personalized search history. Or maybe it's manipulation designed to hide negative stories about a favored candidate.

Concern about 'vast, opaque power' is very American, and very proper. The Constitution and the Federalist structure of the country were designed to limit vast, opaque and unaccountable power as much as possible. Corporations have at times been competing sources of such power: it was an alliance of private interests that compelled the United States government to adopt the Federal Reserve system, for example. (There's a Georgia connection to this story.) People remain concerned about the Fed to this day, and there are valid reasons for this buried among the wilder conspiracy theories about it. It's not properly accountable, and it exercises vast and opaque powers that affect all of us.

So the concern is not ridiculous, and in fact it is quite reasonable for Americans to be suspicious of such things. What to do?

UPDATE: "No one expects the Google inquisition."

UPDATE: Reason magazine:
The situation is compounded by the fact that Damore's text is not in any sense the screed or rant that detractors call it. In fact, it starts with the statement, "I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes" and continues
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.
The result is a discussion of possible causes, including genetic and cultural influences, for why Google's attempt to hire more women and minorities is going so badly despite massive and ongoing efforts to change that. I suspect that the real problem with the essay's logic (as opposed to, say, Damore's personality and reputation within Google, of which I know nothing) is calling attention to the costs and effectiveness of diversity programs along with their benefits, which are simply taken for granted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To hell with "Diversity", the stinking globalist religion.

I don't believe in their "Diversity" religion, and thankfully I'm not alone. May the resistance continue.

The Dialect of The Appalachian People

Make the American Scotch/Irish Brigadoon great again!
More Isolation, Kill Globalism

Juat say no to cultural colonization!

And for God sake buy me some "strumpet candy"!