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Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber

A Google senior software engineer has only a few days ago emailed a 10 page “screed” or manifesto, or call it an opinion, internally to various Google coworkers.

The screed was titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”. It was first publicly posted on Gizmodo.

Gizmodo then did some edits and also removed charts and hyperlinks from the original 10 page document.

I prefer seeing original documents rather than only having access to edited copies of the original. However, Gizmodo kept the opinions expressed from the original document unedited.

I, honestly, support the male author’s concern that a voiced opinion, which does not conform with the culture, will get silenced with shaming or with shout downs.

The below is the intro paragraph of, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber“:

  • Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
  • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
  • The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
  • Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
  • Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
  • Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

The author is right or accurate in stating his observation that, “freedom from offense” actually is not “psychological safety“.

The avoidance of offending people, which is referred to as “psychological safety”, instead inclines a person to be too sensitive or hyper sensitive.

No exposure also inclines you to be less tolerant toward hearing spoken opinions that do not fit your beliefs, values and ideology.

So no exposure — through shaming those people with ideas that offend — instead will cause a person in the monoculture’s “echo chamber” to be less tolerant, less broad thinking, and less receptive to listening to weird or far fetched beliefs, values, and ideas.

In all, shaming is not the way to go when you’re in a business, a university classroom, etc.

There is such a thing as becoming a politically left authoritarian when you believe that no exposure to politically right ideas or to ideas that are contrary to your opinion and to your values is the best way to live your life.

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