James Damore: "This Is Why I Was Fired By Google"

Fired Google engineer Jame Damore has penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal explaining how his good-faith effort to discuss differences between men and women in tech couldn’t be tolerated in the company’s "ideological echo chamber," adding that self-segregation with similar-minded people has grown in recent decades as we spend more time in digital worlds "personalized to fit our views."

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.” My firing neatly confirms that point.

 

How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument?

 

We all have moral preferences and beliefs about how the world is and should be. Having these views challenged can be painful, so we tend to avoid people with differing values and to associate with those who share our values. This self-segregation has become much more potent in recent decades. We are more mobile and can sort ourselves into different communities; we wait longer to find and choose just the right mate; and we spend much of our time in a digital world personalized to fit our views.

 

Google is a particularly intense echo chamber because it is in the middle of Silicon Valley and is so life-encompassing as a place to work. With free food, internal meme boards and weekly companywide meetings, Google becomes a huge part of its employees’ lives. Some even live on campus. For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of “Don’t be evil.”

 

Echo chambers maintain themselves by creating a shared spirit and keeping discussion confined within certain limits. As Noam Chomsky once observed, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

 

But echo chambers also have to guard against dissent and opposition. Whether it’s in our homes, online or in our workplaces, a consensus is maintained by shaming people into conformity or excommunicating them if they persist in violating taboos. Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don’t conform.

 

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.

 

It saddens me to leave Google and to see the company silence open and honest discussion. If Google continues to ignore the very real issues raised by its diversity policies and corporate culture, it will be walking blind into the future—unable to meet the needs of its remarkable employees and sure to disappoint its billions of users.

As a reminder, a survey of Google employees reflected the company's divisions.

Of 440 Google employees who responded to a Blind survey on Tuesday and Wednesday, 56% said they disagreed with Google’s decision to fire Mr. Damore.

Comments

GUS100CORRINA fuckstar Fri, 08/11/2017 - 19:11 Permalink

James Damore Explains: "Why I Was Fired By Google"My response: The Goolag is powerful and a CLEAR and PRESENT DANGER to the Republic. What is going on inside the Goolag should be looked into by DOJ.I am still bothered by the Goolag's meddling in the POTUS election to influence the outcome using their search technology. It is very troubling to see this kind of corruption from a large company like Goolag.By the way, it is GOD Almighty who defines evil and I very seriously doubt if many inside of the Goolag even know anything about the GOD who made them. I also suspect that the Goolag's definition of evil is very different from GOD's definition of evil.

In reply to by fuckstar

DownWithYogaPants Bigly Fri, 08/11/2017 - 20:50 Permalink

You can do one better than the equivalent by studiously NOT clicking on any advertisements.  If you use them and do not click on ads you are upping their electricity and server bills while not paying them.  That's a double whammy.and if you ever are tempted to click on an ad all you have to do is note the name of the company and GOOGLAG them.

In reply to by Bigly

A Sentinel ToSoft4Truth Sat, 08/12/2017 - 00:52 Permalink

The Goo is run by evil men (ha ha ha you hypocrite bastards!) but It still works and the influencing is at sub (sunstein) nudge level. But intentional omission is already vaguely notable. My hope is that some kind of evolving system (like multiple layer deep learning) will be a distributed/cloud replacement. And frankly, about half of their apps show that they don't give a shit anymore.

In reply to by ToSoft4Truth

thinkmoretalkless GUS100CORRINA Fri, 08/11/2017 - 20:49 Permalink

The Google is drunk on its own power...it will end as their arrogance and self assurance will bring things into balance. They are the "new" kids scoffing at the ignorance of those that came before them, but certain principles stand the test of time and blinded by their success they are not even aware. The more you try to control the less you have. Live long enough and you will witness this many times over.

In reply to by GUS100CORRINA

Didymos GUS100CORRINA Sat, 08/12/2017 - 11:16 Permalink

The Goolag is powerful and a CLEAR and PRESENT DANGER to the Republic.

I agree, but for a different reason.  Their search algorithms lend to this whole echo chamber.  You'll notice you don't get the results you expect from a Google search when you're on a computer that doesn't belong to you.  The results you get on your own PC are more and more refined over time, returning results similar to those you've clicked and followed in the past. This reinforces your beliefs and biases.  This is happening wherever someone is using a Google browser all over the world, not just in Google offices.As a software specialist, I can see how this could occur unintentionally.  The intention to create a product that actually comes closer and closer to knowing what you're thinking and predicting what you'll want next is perfect when considering the primary purpose of chrome is a search engine.  A search engine that can nearly predict the thing you want to search before you type a single letter is as good as it gets.  It didn't take an evil conspiracy to create it.But now that it exists, the down side becomes evident.  And I'll admit I used to cling to PC culture.  Not calling the mentally retarded "retards" seemed like a no brainer.  But soon it got silly.  It went from common decency to nanny state a long time ago.  Public shaming is considered the same as murder, according to Jewish biblical law.  Americans have become experts at public shaming.  And worse, even when the shaming is misdirected, it's never apologized for, and sometimes we lynch those false targets long after the fact.So they followed their model of "don't be evil" in the context of developing a product which has more or less become a public good, yet the outcome was to reinforce biases they themselves preach against.  It's ironic, but not corporate evil. The firing of Damore was a damned if you do/don't situation.  They should have taken the heat for not firing them and taken the opportunity to honestly talk about the brilliant points Damore made with the public (then shamed the media for their dishonest portrayal of the memo/essay).

In reply to by GUS100CORRINA

UselessEater evildimensions (not verified) Fri, 08/11/2017 - 20:31 Permalink

+1000Why can't people see this and get it? Perhaps they need to know a little more of where this ends up for us?http://andrewcarringtonhitchcock.com/jewish-genocide-of-the-white-race-…Audio Book Of Jewish Genocide Of The White Race – CASE CLOSED!"........So let’s recap, we have Jewish financial backing of the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan to kill off the white race, Jewish lobbying and execution of the U.S.A Immigration Act and the U.K. Race Relations Act to put the pieces in place to carry out the plan, Jewish ownership of the media that constantly push propaganda promoting race-mixing that executes the plan, and evidence from the mouths of two Jews that they are openly attempting to change the racial make-up of both Sweden and Norway. Once again I refer you to Article 2 and 3 of the United Nations convention on Genocide and ask yourselves if these Jews, “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group?” As I have evidenced above, there is absolutely no doubt that Jews control both White Western governments through political party funding and lobbying groups, and there is absolutely no doubt that the Jewish owned media constantly promote diversity and race-mixing, which is surreptitiously designed to reduce the native white population. If that is not “Jewish Genocide Of The White Race,” I don’t know what is! CASE CLOSED!"

In reply to by evildimensions (not verified)

Michael Musashi fuckstar Fri, 08/11/2017 - 19:50 Permalink

Google is in China suppressing anything negative about the psychopathic murderer Mao, but if a Conservative or Libertarian speaks up inside their very own office then the little hypocrites take a stand! LOL!Google needs to be knocked down a few pegs... President Trump, time to smack Google and, while you're at it, Amazon around.

In reply to by fuckstar

halcyon fuckstar Sat, 08/12/2017 - 03:34 Permalink

It might be a cult, it might be wrong, it could be full of brain-washed idiots.But it's based on free will.Google owes you NOTHING. And is not required to cater to anybody's special snowflake believes, whether they are right, left, up or down.You don't get that, then start your own goddamn Google.Otherwise you're just as bad as the snowflakes you criticise: "boohoo, they don't cater to my needs, they are evil, they are ideologically biased and they discriminated against me."Boo-fucking-hoo. Grow some balls.   

In reply to by fuckstar

Normalcy Bias Fri, 08/11/2017 - 19:05 Permalink

Sooo... Google is a company filled with "the smartest people in the world," and yet they're not smart enough to see that so much of what they do makes an absolute mockery of their own "sacred motto," "Don't Be Evil?"