This Is The End Of Google's 'Don't Be Evil' Mantra

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derekullo

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Sundar Pichai (Google CEO): You’re not quite evil enough. You’re semi-evil. You’re quasi-evil. You’re the margarine of evil. You’re the Diet Coke of evil, just one calorie, not evil enough.

Google Board of Directors: But we were trying really hard

Sundar Pichai (Google CEO): SILIENCE I WILL NOT TOLERATE YOUR INSOLENCE!!!

"Sundar Pichai pushes the giant red button on desk"
 

plrr

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Hmm... A person at the company suggested they revise some of their policies, because they didn't properly reflect the underlying values and were scientifically problematic. That person was openly and globally defamed for no reason at all. The pro-diversity, scientifically founded message was construed as the exact opposite. I sincerely hope the company didn't ruin that person's life. "Don't be evil." That has been their motto? The intrinsic naivety of that principle paints the same grim picture as the abuse imposed on that responsible co-worker. And something tells me the company has yet to apologize.
 

stdragon

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It's called a "United Front", and the fact it's spearheaded by the SJW crowd should not be all that surprising for anyone that knows their history of Marxism.
 

bit_user

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Without knowing any of the details, I'll just say I get why "don't be evil" is problematic. It's simplistic, highly open to interpretation, and easily mocked.

But, in spite of all that, it's really quite an elegant guiding principle. It's important and relevant that such a large, powerful company continually be asking itself "is this evil?" and whether the public would perceive it not to be living up to this ideal. Yes, it means potentially having to answer for their actions and explain why they think something is not evil, but I think that's healthy and it's a standard to which we're all implicitly held, as individuals.

Remember when Yahoo was top dog? Without any moral superiority on which to fall back, Google is just one strong competitor away from heading down that same dismal path. They're not unassailable. I'd imagine China has a couple potential rivals. And something could always come out of the EU, or elsewhere, that could challenge Google in at least one of their vital areas.
 

bit_user

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Because I can have an opinion on their motto, which is what I was talking about. "Don't be evil." was a good motto. Without such ethical guideposts, they can only compete on their technical strengths. And we've seen many technological titans fall in years gone by.

BTW, I read the article, and it didn't reference what you linked, so it's not clear to me that's a factor in all of this. I thought @plrr was referring to the new code of conduct, but now I understand it's probably referring to the issue in your link (which I did know about). It's an oddly-worded post... intentionally oblique.
 

Those are what is known as "gullible people". : D
 

plrr

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While "Don't be evil" may have utility as a guiding principle, its naivety may be a larger problem than what is immediately obvious. This stance is a little bit like the "magic ingredient" that makes leftist corruption and feminine abuse very difficult to even openly acknowledge, let alone deal with constructively. Utilizing the idea of "evil" tends to paint a very clear image of a "we" and a "them", and seems to imply an unquestionable moral superiority that renders objectivity principles secondary. Maybe they'd be better off copying a that famous piece of the Hippocratic oath? But then, maybe that's not enough of a change...
 

bit_user

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Well, if you assume they're incapable of holding an appropriate definition of "evil", then I think that exposes underlying issues. In which case, I'd argue that "Don't be evil" is not actually the problem.

Just so we're clear, "Don't be evil" is not a policy. It's merely a guidepost. If it exposes moral ambiguity and fosters discussions over exactly what is evil, in the contexts in which the company operates, that's a feature - not a bug!


This is basically why I don't like it when politicians brandish the term.


Interesting point. I'm sure one could parse this to bits, but "First do no harm" feels awfully similar to "Don't be evil".
 

stdragon

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What's up with all the intellectual fappening and fawning over the "Don't be evil" motto? Yeah, it was cool, hip, and edgy back when it was first used by a MEGA CORP such as Google. But if their past history is of anything to judge them by (and there is), the motto has been exposed as nothing more than a baseless platitude that only serves to insult the intelligence of those that know better!

Intentions are worthless without results; and Google has proven to not have a footing on the moral high-ground.
 

bit_user

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Then what would you suggest? "Yeah, we're pretty evil. Get used to it." ? Silly is not hard, and cynicism is more a cul-de-sac than a useful end.

I'm just arguing that their old motto had a lot going for it, and that failing to uphold such aspirations actually leaves them pretty vulnerable. There are a few key questions bound up in all this relating to things like corporate values, trust among users, trust among employees, etc. I'm not really trying to dive down that rabbit hole.

I guess mine is simply a lament. It's not that I thought they entirely lived up to the old motto, but I wanted them to keep trying (to some extent) and to be willing to uphold such a standard against which to be measured. That's all.
 
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