Does the increasing campus hysteria and antirationality portend bad news for Silicon Valley? If students increasingly grow up in a culture in which the person with the most wounded feelings rules, will they be able to code emotionless computers as well as in the past?
With the tech industry already immense, and soon to attempt to take over the auto industry with self-driving cars, those are trillion-dollar questions.
We may have gotten a hint of an answer this week whether blue-state America’s worsening climate of science denialism will backfire on the giant tech quasi-monopolies when Google CEO Sundar Pichai publicly fired a software engineer for writing a carefully argued memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”
The brilliant young coder is James Damore, a former doctoral student in systems biology at Harvard. In case you are wondering what systems biology is, here’s Harvard’s explanation:
Systems Biology aims to explain how higher level properties of complex biological systems arise from the interactions among their parts. This field requires a fusion of concepts from many disciplines, including biology, computer science, applied mathematics, physics and engineering.
Ironically, Damore was fired for defending Google against the libel that only rampant sexism can explain why the second-richest company in the world doesn’t employ 50 percent women in technical jobs (much as Larry Summers was forced out as president of Harvard a decade ago in sizable measure for defending Harvard from similar charges).