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Old 8th August 2017, 08:11 AM   #41
BobTheCoward
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
They don't have to debate anyone. It's their policy, as long as it is legal, the only ones they have to justify it to are themselves.
If that was their stance, then I would be fine with. I'm a libertarian. "Because I feel like it" is the best answer on Earth. But that isn't their answer. Their answer is the research supports their position. They are making it an issue.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:16 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
If that was their stance, then I would be fine with. I'm a libertarian. "Because I feel like it" is the best answer on Earth. But that isn't their answer. Their answer is the research supports their position. They are making it an issue.
No they aren't. The research apparently satisfies them. Who are you as a libertarian to question what they use to come to their conclusions?
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:19 AM   #43
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Crappy self-important company has crappy self-important employee. They're right, they really do need more diversity!
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:20 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
No they aren't. The research apparently satisfies them. Who are you as a libertarian to question what they use to come to their conclusions?
I get to question everything I want. Libertarian only means do not have government interfere on their choice. I also wouldn't question their choice if they didn't make it known their choices because I like to extend that to people. But they have, so I am also acting in my role as an individual.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:20 AM   #45
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Seems to me Google is making some fairly specific and testable claims here...

Quote:
First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects “each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.”
https://www.recode.net/2017/8/7/1611...ode-of-conduct
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:37 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Seems to me Google is making some fairly specific and testable claims here...

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."

https://www.recode.net/2017/8/7/1611...ode-of-conduct
Huh, I thought the memo went to some length to say that:
1) Certain generalizations can be made about groups*
2) These generalizations are not usefully applied to individuals but may explain certain disparities that are observed at a group level


* (Not from the memo but as an example) over 90% of people convicted of violent crime are male. This is not due to a matriarchal judiciary, nor should be used to judge whether an individual man is violent, but reflects a relative group level statistical preference for males to engage in physical violence. Hence a 'fair' system has a disproportionate outcome.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:41 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Which is entirely separate from why it is still an appropriate response to a manager who has likely directed him to think about diversity. (Indirectly or directly).

But this is proof that Google doesn't actually care about diversity. If they did, they would actually refute the claims in the letter. To simply fire him doesn't actually address if he is right or not.
If it was in his contract and/or job description that he was expected to give such feedback then you would perhaps have a weak point. Do you have evidence the feedback and employment recommendations he put in his "memo" were part of his job description? I suspect that unless he is part of the HR department he was not *employed* to give such feedback.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:41 AM   #48
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I must have missed something in reading the "manifesto".
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:41 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
If they don't think they can win the debate, they have no place telling people they are right. It doesn't matter the cost or the harm.

They based their diversity message off of something. If it isn't BS, they should at least cite it.
Any evidence for your claims?
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:46 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
If that was their stance, then I would be fine with. I'm a libertarian. "Because I feel like it" is the best answer on Earth. But that isn't their answer. Their answer is the research supports their position. They are making it an issue.
No at worse they are explaining the reasoning behind their decisions and policies. As an employee you may think those reasons or facts are crap but if you are taking the money you take it. If you don't like it leave. I've left 2 companies for ethical reasons, one of which was because I profoundly disagreed with policies the company implemented. (That did not directly impact me.) I used the feedback mechanism the company had in place, I wasn't satisfied with the result of that so I left.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:47 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Crappy self-important company has crappy self-important employee. They're right, they really do need more diversity!
That's pretty much my view. Advertising is a dirty business, it is not about truth and honesty.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:49 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Seems to me Google is making some fairly specific and testable claims here...



https://www.recode.net/2017/8/7/1611...ode-of-conduct
And? Was this person *employed* to verify or test those claims?
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:02 AM   #53
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It boggles my mind that any employee in the USA thinks they won't be fired when they create a document like that and distribute it to the entire company using company resources without permission of their bosses. That is some extreme stupidity on the employees part.

Business Insider's article covers the legal issues very well.
http://www.businessinsider.com/james...-speech-2017-8
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:03 AM   #54
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Tech guy reads behavioural psychology research, thinks he can correctly critique, interpret and apply it, goes out of his depth in a way that perpetuates bias. News at 11.

Also: drags company into public debate, gets fired.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:04 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
No at worse they are explaining the reasoning behind their decisions and policies. As an employee you may think those reasons or facts are crap but if you are taking the money you take it. If you don't like it leave. I've left 2 companies for ethical reasons, one of which was because I profoundly disagreed with policies the company implemented. (That did not directly impact me.) I used the feedback mechanism the company had in place, I wasn't satisfied with the result of that so I left.
And I didn't say my comment had the intent of keeping the job.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:06 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Tech guy reads behavioural psychology research, thinks he can correctly critique, interpret and apply it, goes out of his depth in a way that perpetuates bias. News at 11.
This seems like a good point for someone better informed on the issue to explain what this person got wrong. Instead, Google gives the impression they don't care if the person is right. As someone who cares about diversity, it makes we want to consider dropping their products.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:13 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Its Google, all time is company time.

Remember this is the USA, there is no employment contract.
Well, that's the thing. If he was a Google UK employee, he'd be laughing all the way to an employment tribunal right now.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:20 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
If they don't think they can win the debate, they have no place telling people they are right. It doesn't matter the cost or the harm.

They based their diversity message off of something. If it isn't BS, they should at least cite it.
Please read my post again- it has nothing to do with "winning" the debate. Just engaging in the debate is what would be insane and detrimental. Do you really think anyone can produce any statement that would finally and definitively resolve the debate on this topic such that everyone would accept it or reject it? This debate has been going on for decades, if not centuries and yet it continues. Do you think Google would suddenly be able to convince everyone (or even most) of their position with a memo (which is mine, by the way)? Or, for that matter, that the ex-employee and his supporters would convince everyone (or even most) of the opposite position?

BTW, this is independent of the validity of Google's position. There are many areas that remain controversial among the public even when the truth is quite clear and readily established. Look at the debate on evolution in the USA for example. in fact if you look at this very Forum you will see members who are still debating the validity of Relativity.

Google would be idiotic to wade into that kind of bitter, back and forth discussion that would continue endlessly because so many peoples' view of the topic is heavily weighted by emotion, not by logic or statistics. Jumping into such a highly politicized debate would only harm the company from within and from without. No rationale company would do so, and if they did the shareholders would have a right to throw out the heads of the company that chose to do so.

Finally- why should Google enter into a debate even were the topic less emotional and more readily resolved? Google has ~57,000 employees- should they feel obligated to debate any topic that any one of these 57,000 chooses to raise? If one of their employees publicly circulates a memorandum questioning if the sky is blue (I presume this is not a firing offense) is the Google management obligated to release a rebuttal? If one of their employees circulates a memorandum questioning the fundamental business strategy of the Google top management (which is more likely to get them fired) is Google obligated to release a manifesto in rebuttal?

Bottom line- Google has every right to define their corporate policies as they choose, within the law. An employee (on of 57,000) questioning such a policy within the context of his role as an employee, particularly when done by a middle manager who supervises others, and when questioning/opposing a policy core to how personnel under them will be viewed and treated, is going counter to the core strategy and goals of the highest levels of management. They should be fired not because of their position per se, but because of their actions in promoting their position is so disruptive to the functioning of the company.

It will be interesting to find out how quickly this guy is scooped up by some right-wing organization. In fact I wonder if such an arrangement was already made before he circulated the memo and this was an attempt to create publicity. But of course I don't know that.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:21 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
If that was their stance, then I would be fine with. I'm a libertarian. "Because I feel like it" is the best answer on Earth. But that isn't their answer. Their answer is the research supports their position. They are making it an issue.
You are the one stating that they are obligated to make it an issue and continue the debate. They have chosen to leave it here. That is their right (and that is what is smart of them).
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:22 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Tech guy reads behavioural psychology research, thinks he can correctly critique, interpret and apply it, goes out of his depth in a way that perpetuates bias. News at 11.
Hey a lot of psychology professionals get research very very wrong.

Remember the recent "We determined that lesbians are just doing it to turn guys on, we proved that by interviewing straight men".
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:22 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Please read my post again- it has nothing to do with "winning" the debate. Just engaging in the debate is what would be insane and detrimental. Do you really think anyone can produce any statement that would finally and definitively resolve the debate on this topic such that everyone would accept it or reject it? This debate has been going on for decades, if not centuries and yet it continues. Do you think Google would suddenly be able to convince everyone (or even most) of their position with a memo (which is mine, by the way)? Or, for that matter, that the ex-employee and his supporters would convince everyone (or even most) of the opposite position?

BTW, this is independent of the validity of Google's position. There are many areas that remain controversial among the public even when the truth is quite clear and readily established. Look at the debate on evolution in the USA for example. in fact if you look at this very Forum you will see members who are still debating the validity of Relativity.

Google would be idiotic to wade into that kind of bitter, back and forth discussion that would continue endlessly because so many peoples' view of the topic is heavily weighted by emotion, not by logic or statistics. Jumping into such a highly politicized debate would only harm the company from within and from without. No rationale company would do so, and if they did the shareholders would have a right to throw out the heads of the company that chose to do so.

Finally- why should Google enter into a debate even were the topic less emotional and more readily resolved? Google has ~57,000 employees- should they feel obligated to debate any topic that any one of these 57,000 chooses to raise? If one of their employees publicly circulates a memorandum questioning if the sky is blue (I presume this is not a firing offense) is the Google management obligated to release a rebuttal? If one of their employees circulates a memorandum questioning the fundamental business strategy of the Google top management (which is more likely to get them fired) is Google obligated to release a manifesto in rebuttal?

Bottom line- Google has every right to define their corporate policies as they choose, within the law. An employee (on of 57,000) questioning such a policy within the context of his role as an employee, particularly when done by a middle manager who supervises others, and when questioning/opposing a policy core to how personnel under them will be viewed and treated, is going counter to the core strategy and goals of the highest levels of management. They should be fired not because of their position per se, but because of their actions in promoting their position is so disruptive to the functioning of the company.

It will be interesting to find out how quickly this guy is scooped up by some right-wing organization. In fact I wonder if such an arrangement was already made before he circulated the memo and this was an attempt to create publicity. But of course I don't know that.
Yes, they are morally obligated to do those things and engage in the debate.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:23 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Crappy self-important company has crappy self-important employee. They're right, they really do need more diversity!
Nonetheless, somehow they seem to have be able to achieve a modicum of success.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:24 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
It boggles my mind that any employee in the USA thinks they won't be fired when they create a document like that and distribute it to the entire company using company resources without permission of their bosses. That is some extreme stupidity on the employees part.

Business Insider's article covers the legal issues very well.
http://www.businessinsider.com/james...-speech-2017-8
Exactly! The guy should have been fired simply for being so stupid!
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:31 AM   #64
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Here's a response from a former Google Software engineer (and I guess manager of some sort at one point). I think he's pretty much right on point, especially this part:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so...o-1e3773ed1788

Quote:
What you just did was incredibly stupid and harmful. You just put out a manifesto inside the company arguing that some large fraction of your colleagues are at root not good enough to do their jobs, and that they’re only being kept in their jobs because of some political ideas. And worse than simply thinking these things or saying them in private, you’ve said them in a way that’s tried to legitimize this kind of thing across the company, causing other people to get up and say “wait, is that right?”

I need to be very clear here: not only was nearly everything you said in that document wrong, the fact that you did that has caused significant harm to people across this company, and to the company’s entire ability to function. And being aware of that kind of consequence is also part of your job, as in fact it would be at pretty much any other job. I am no longer even at the company and I’ve had to spend half of the past day talking to people and cleaning up the mess you’ve made. I can’t even imagine how much time and emotional energy has been sunk into this, not to mention reputational harm more broadly.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:34 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Yes, they are morally obligated to do those things and engage in the debate.
That is crap! No one, least of whom a publicly held company, is obligated to enter into a debate. Are they obligated to publicly debate capital punishment? Are they obligated to publicly debate their cell phone marketing strategy? Are they obligated to publicly debate their reasons for firing any given employee (rather than simply meet the obligations of employment law and agreements)?

In thread after thread you have taken the position that the fundamental human right is the freedom of people and companies to do what they wish, and that this trumps simple societal concepts of morality. Now you are proposing moral obligations come first. It is hard not to suspect that you are seeking to be provocative rather than advancing your actual views...
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:36 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
That is crap! No one, least of whom a publicly held company, is obligated to enter into a debate. Are they obligated to publicly debate capital punishment? Are they obligated to publicly debate their cell phone marketing strategy? Are they obligated to publicly debate their reasons for firing any given employee (rather than simply meet the obligations of employment law and agreements)?

In thread after thread you have taken the position that the fundamental human right is the freedom of people and companies to do what they wish, and that this trumps simple societal concepts of morality. Now you are proposing moral obligations come first. It is hard not to suspect that you are seeking to be provocative rather than advancing your actual views...
I'm not proposing moral obligations come first. As a free person, I shirk my moral obligations all the time.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:38 AM   #67
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:39 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by bonzombiekitty View Post
Here's a response from a former Google Software engineer (and I guess manager of some sort at one point). I think he's pretty much right on point, especially this part:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so...o-1e3773ed1788
He/she states the key point. The (now) ex-employee who circulated the memo essentially publicly crapped into the corporate soup bowl. If their goal was to create a useful debate, their actions were so stupid as to be doomed to do the opposite, as well as creating a situation in which they had to be fired for the reasons detailed in your citation.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:45 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by bonzombiekitty View Post
Here's a response from a former Google Software engineer (and I guess manager of some sort at one point). I think he's pretty much right on point, especially this part:

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so...o-1e3773ed1788
My issue is without actually proving he is wrong, it points out the biggest problem with Google's position, they are covering for the fact that a significant fraction is not cut out for the job.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:52 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
No way am I reading all of that. How about a synopsis?

As far as Google being diverse, they are very inclusive. In fact, they shipped 80 Google Maps jobs to India when I worked there. Very diverse. Whole department gone. They do care about their employees, oh yes.

[snipped]
Speaking as someone with relatives in the USA software industry, it greatly worries and disturbs me when tech companies export jobs elsewhere.

But I feel obligated to note that Google is an international company. Let me know if I am wrong, but I suspect that those 80 jobs shipped to India are still in Google. And from what I've been able to read, employees in Google in India are very pleased with the company and their working conditions. So to be accurate, this is not evidence Google does not care about its employees- the transfer was a boon for their employees in India, although a punch to the face for their employees in the USA. If a company is truly international their actions may suck for one group even as they favor another. I am not suggesting this is moral (IMO it is not), only that it represents a interactional company's perspective and that such a company is presumably not supposed to favor one country over another except as it relates to the greater corporate goals.
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Old 8th August 2017, 09:55 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Speaking as someone with relatives in the USA software industry, it greatly worries and disturbs me when tech companies export jobs elsewhere.

But I feel obligated to note that Google is an international company. Let me know if I am wrong, but I suspect that those 80 jobs shipped to India are still in Google. And from what I've been able to read, employees in Google in India are very pleased with the company and their working conditions. So to be accurate, this is not evidence Google does not care about its employees- the transfer was a boon for their employees in India, although a punch to the face for their employees in the USA. If a company is truly international their actions may suck for one group even as they favor another. I am not suggesting this is moral (IMO it is not), only that it represents a interactional company's perspective and that such a company is presumably not supposed to favor one country over another except as it relates to the greater corporate goals.
I love talking to our tech team in India. Their office is in one of those tech hubs. Their building looks like some sort of science fiction fortress. I probably have more in common with them than the Trump supporters in my building.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:01 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
My issue is without actually proving he is wrong, it points out the biggest problem with Google's position, they are covering for the fact that a significant fraction is not cut out for the job.
Do you have any evidence for that? I have watched several individuals go through the Google application and multi- multi-step interview process- from what I observed by no means do they hire people who are not cut out for the job- no matter what their ethnicity, gender, etc. The bar is very high and very few even of those who survive the initial phone interview make it through the lengthy process to being hired. Working for Google is also typically very demanding, and they seem from what I know very ready to let go people who are not working out.

A significant fraction are not cut out for their jobs? From where are you pulling that conclusion? Google is not the phone company!
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:03 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Do you have any evidence for that? I have watched several individuals go through the Google application and multi- multi-step interview process- from what I observed by no means do they hire people who are not cut out for the job- no matter what their ethnicity, gender, etc. The bar is very high and very few even of those who survive the initial phone interview make it through the lengthy process to being hired. Working for Google is also typically very demanding, and they seem from what I know very ready to let go people who are not working out.

A significant fraction are not cut out for their jobs? From where are you pulling that conclusion? Google is not the phone company!
I shared your position until their shocking silence to address this point. I question their belief in their own process.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:16 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Tech guy reads behavioural psychology research, thinks he can correctly critique, interpret and apply it, goes out of his depth in a way that perpetuates bias. News at 11.
If I'm reading his CV correctly, "tech guy" has a PhD in systems biology.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:30 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
If I'm reading his CV correctly, "tech guy" has a PhD in systems biology.
So he works with computer models of complex systems. Not people.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:32 AM   #76
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I'm not going to guess how much behavioural psychology he took in pursuit of his degree, but I'd bet it's much more than the usual tech guy.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:42 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
If I'm reading his CV correctly, "tech guy" has a PhD in systems biology.
From my perspective and experience, and I am a biologist, being an expert in systems biology is no more likely qualify you in terms of understanding human psychology and behavior than the opposite. Perhaps even the latter because human behavior and psychology cannot yet be modeled in this way and believing it could would be a terrible error.

I have never heard of a BS or PhD systems biology program that requires learning of human behavior physiology. The computer modeling that is done in this field is typically at very detailed levels of molecular and cellular interactions. Perhaps one might be able to start to model the response of a nematode (a 1 mm long worm) to introduction of a food source, but even this is not trivial. To think that it might enhance one's ability to understand human behavior or overall human skills severely misunderstands the discipline and the current level of this approach.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:43 AM   #78
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If the now ex-Google employee was a woman, would she still have her job?
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:45 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
If the now ex-Google employee was a woman, would she still have her job?
I doubt it. It still would be highly disruptive to the company. But good try...

Last edited by Giordano; 8th August 2017 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 8th August 2017, 10:48 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
If the now ex-Google employee was a woman, would she still have her job?
Women aren't that stupid.
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