Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Michael Italie, Brendan Eich...and Kay Coles James - what is truth?

By Nikolai Ge -, Public Domain, Link

I am going to begin this post by noting that Goodwill, Mozilla, and Google are private entities, not governmental entities.

This gives them the right (subject to possible state-level restrictions) to discriminate for political reasons.

As I've previously noted, Michael Italie was - completely legally - a member of the Socialist Workers Party. This was enough to get him fired by Goodwill.

And as I've also noted, Brendan Eich was - completely legally - a donor to a campaign to support California's Proposition 8. This was enough to get him f- ... oh, I'm sorry, he resigned from Mozilla.

And today we're all talking about Kay Coles James - who has joined an entity known as the Heritage Foundation, and is also the President of said organization. As I write this, the Heritage Foundation is legally allowed to conduct business in the United States (although perhaps I'd better check on San Francisco just to be sure). The Foundation itself has been around since 1973, and has been linked to conservatives ranging from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump (assuming Trump is a conservative, but that is outside of the scope of this blog).

Now James did not assault a liberal, or cause an economic crisis in San Francisco, or even fire a gender fluid person from the Foundation. No, James joined Google's Advanced Technology External Advisory Council.

And that was enough to enrage some Googlers.

Google must remove Kay Coles James from its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC).

On March 27, four days before Trans Day of Visibility, Google announced the members of its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), which is tasked with informing the company’s decisions around AI and other technologies. Among those appointed to ATEAC is Kay Coles James, the President of the Heritage Foundation, who is vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant.

But what of the argument that if you want to reduce AI bias, you need to include people with diverse views?

Following the announcement, the person who took credit for appointing James stood by the decision, saying that James was on the council to ensure “diversity of thought.” This is a weaponization of the language of diversity.

The controversy boils down to the question of how Google should approach various issues. As it turns out, this is presumably one of the issues with which ATEAC (whoever is on it) will wrestle.

But what is a valid stand to take on any issue? See if you can guess the two organizations mentioned in this quote.

Both organizations act and provide information in such a manner that they could be considered another arm of the United State's Department of Defense. (DoD) If anything, the entirety of all mainstream media sources provide information in ways that either support political parties or of the agenda of the United States government.

The two organizations in question? Fox News and MSNBC. Some people believe that one is the gospel truth, some believe in the other, and some believe that both are stooges of the Trump-Obama military-industrial complex.

So when you have different cultural perspectives in different countries, or even in the same country, what should be presented by Google's search results (the one product that Google probably WON'T sunset)?

Because we can't agree on what artificial intelligence should do until we agree on what natural intelligence should do.
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