Googler uprising leads to shut down of AI ethics committee that included the president of the Heritage Foundation

Originally published at:


The Vox article doesn’t try to explain how board members were chosen, or by whom. Is this something that would be obvious to me if I knew more about big businesses?


I just assume they are chosen by other terrible people.


The fact that they shut the thing down suggests to me that the original choice was deliberate. So what were they up to? Are these tech giants intending to drive us into fascism? It certainly looks like it.


Knowing more might prove helpful. But I’m pretty sure one would have to be white-ass-deep in big business for entry into the “club” and from there have a chance at really knowing its method for choosing board members.


There’s some Nick Land (accelerationist) fans among the tech crowd, so it’s not that unlikely to believe they think accelerating the rise of fascism will equally accelerate the rise of anarchism or some kind of anti-capitalism.


Aren’t they legally obliged to make the most money, there’s good money to be made in things like train timetable logistics and I’m sure they can look to IBM for some advice…

1 Like

Her inclusion was baffling, even if we overlook her awful positions (which take some overlooking). The fact is, she’s clearly not someone who has given any thought to the issue; I can’t imagine she has an cogent insight in this area, given her career. Everyone else on the group has some obvious qualifications: programmers, ethics philosophers, privacy researchers, etc. Her previous jobs largely consisted of making sure underqualified conservatives got key government positions.
Weirdly, she’s also on a NASA advisory committee, which is just [Confused Jackie Chan Gif].

I can only assume that, because of the guff Google has been getting about being “hostile to conservatives,” they felt they needed a clearly “conservative voice” (or two or…) on the committee. If anything, it suggests to me that they weren’t necessarily going to give the committee’s findings any weight; it was all about appeasing the right.

1 Like

What is strange is how artless the choice was.

Zero apparent qualification from a tech(given the state of the OPM’s IT, possibly negative credit here), philosophy, ethics; or political(someone has to fill the bureaucracy; but being a functional cog isn’t an obvious qualification for an advisory role) expertise perspective; when there are plenty of options who would tick the ‘conservative’ box while being undeniably punchy in at least some area of expertise.

Compare to, say, The President’s Council on Bioethics: pretty much just assembled to provide some gravitas to Bush’s existing positions that fetuses were people only more so, stem cells were scary; and cloning was super icky; but more or less competently assembled from a bunch of MDs and PhDs(some both) who were ideologically amenable but couldn’t be trivially dismissed as mere hacks(though, after reading the report they produced…‘the wisdom of repugnance’, guys? Seriously?)

The choice of Leon Kass as chairman was a particularly neat touch: it would have been tacky to outright say “because jesus” in an exercise intended to provide a nominally independent assessment; but he combined real intellectual cred with the interesting combination of being jewish, but such an Aristotle enthusiast that he wrote bioethics eerily like you’d normally expect a catholic to. Perfect guy for the job.

I’m not suggesting that Google could have found anyone to make their AI whitewashing club a success at keeping people from being creeped out; that’s a truly tall order; but someone with conservative credentials, credibility in a relevant area; and ideally the tact to know how to dog whistle seems like it would have been trivial.

As it is, they could have done better by picking Mencius Moldbug.


Yeah. I wonder if, rather than actually picking someone, they simply asked the Heritage Foundation to provide/recommend someone, and she’s who they offered up. (Because, as an organization they haven’t thought about, nor do they give a shit about, the potential negative impacts of AI, so long as AI isn’t gay or providing abortions.)

It feels like there was a serious effort to put together an ethics group until they got to a point where Google felt they needed to be seen “listening to conservative voices.” At which point they put in some minimal effort/passed on the responsibility to someone else because it was just an exercise in box ticking.

1 Like

“shut down” is a verb phrase. It’s “shutdown.”

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.