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    It’s interesting to ponder why Google would invite someone with a completely opposite worldview. Not just different, but a perspective that openly calls for the end of all the Googles out there. I have to watch it.

    Edit: Gold nugget in the last final seconds:

    Interviewer: Do you have anything you’d like to ask us [Googlers, marketers, software engineers]?

    Chomsky: Why not do some of the serious things?

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      Remember that Google might not equal the Googler or team of them that invited this person. This is a huge company with a lot of different kinds of people. I imagine they bring in many different kinds of people to suite different tastes. It’s also not going to be threatened by someone disagreeing with it given the audience can just shout the person out the door and not invite them again. One or more inviting him probably liked some stuff he said in a movie or presentation. Then, they thought some people might enjoy hearing him speak. The end.

      That’s my default assumption anyway.

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        I agree. In fact it would’ve been more notorious not accepting the proposal of his talk.

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          Working at Google (but having no idea of the background of this talk) I would very much expect it to have happened like that.

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          It’s interesting to ponder why Google would invite someone with a completely opposite worldview. Not just different, but a perspective that openly calls for the end of all the Googles out there. I have to watch it.

          That’s a good way to signal you’re secure in your worldview: freely invite people to challenge it.

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            While I agree with you in the general case, I think Google is doing this to placate it’s employees. What better way to dispel animosity than to accept the other side as one of your own?

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              (kind of tangential, but…) I’ve always found it fascinating how social movements often collapse when legitimized.

              It’s like when a manager gives lip service to the concerns of an unhappy employee, making them feel like it’s all going to be better soon, but effort is not spent to actually change a situation.

              When you walk around Google campuses, there is often material on the walls in common areas that talks about various social causes that Google is working to improve. It feels great to think that your organization is part of the solution.

              The gap between superficial and structural control structures is interesting to pay attention to when seeking changes to a system. You can really dispel the risk of an insurrection by letting a Black Panther get elected, bringing in an external investigator to fix your sexual harassment problems, hosting a Noam Chomsky talk, etc… without risking any structural change.

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              I think know what you’re trying to say, but if your opinion is “Google should stop existing” and then Google invites you to give a talk, what’s the point here? They’re not going to be persuaded into oblivion, so… why? As a pretense of open-mindedness? Or maybe it wants to be associated with the intellectual prestige of Chomsky? What’s the real reason, I wonder.

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                An institution like Google might not even consider it to be at odds with a progressive, anti-capitalist view like Chomsky’s - it’s a different sphere with a different perception of reality. “Don’t be evil” is not just a empty phrase, these people really believe it. Moreover, the questions given by the interviewer where purely instrumentalist in nature: science is a tool for them, a means to an end. It’s an attempt to learn from an famous scientist, without considering the moral issues which are much more important to someone like Chomsky.

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                  “Don’t be evil” is not just a empty phrase

                  They dropped that a while back if you’re talking Google. The company has been practicing plenty of evil in surveillance sense, too. Hell, just the revenues versus spending on quick, security patches for Android by itself shows how evil they’ll be to their users to squeeze extra profit out. ;)

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                    I totally agree. What I meant was that the people behind the institution called Google most certainly have a different perception of evil.

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              A friend’s workplace had protestors picket outside its door. The boss brought out coffee and donuts, warmly thanked them all for coming, and went back in. Within a half-hour, fed on the company’s dime and with no target for anger, they wandered off.

              The Google employees watched a rousing argument from a famous voice. Really what they watched is their employer act totally unworried while a thousand other employees sat still. Next comes lunch or that mid-afternoon status meeting with the team in Australia. There’s no social movement started here. If Chomsky is lucky he planted a seed, but it’s pretty easy to forget someone ineffective telling you that you’re wasting your life and should do something uncomfortable.