Google whistleblower Greg Coppola to Tucker: algorithms don’t “write themselves”

The reprimanded employee went on Fox News to give more info about what he says are Google's biases.

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A senior Google engineer who recently accused the tech giant of bias against conservatives and US President Donald Trump has spoken with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Greg Coppola previously told Project Veritas in an on-the-record interview that Google News chooses aggregate results from openly anti-Trump sites, and also spoke of the danger of Big Tech and big media outlets effectively merging through their political bias in favor of the Democrats.

In the Fox News interview, Coppola, and artificial intelligence (AI) expert reiterated his point that software products are not inherently unbiased, and sought to dispel the myth that algorithms “write themselves” – i.e., are produced by machines and therefore neutral.

As Carlson noted, that is something Google itself has been promoting, when the company says that algorithms rank the vast amounts of information on its platform – suggesting that this process was for that reason unbiased.

But Coppola underlined that software is developed by humans, with the end product producing results that depend on human decisions that went into creating it.

Not only that – but the growing complexity of algorithms means more opportunity for humans to influence how the end product works – in this case, the ranking and surfacing of search results and news stories.

As the Fox News host noted, this problem is not “academic” because the United States is headed for a presidential election next year, and given Google's and other tech giant's vast influence as the primary source of news and information for most voters.

Asked whether Google's anti-conservative bias might end up influencing the outcome of the 2020 vote, Coppola said this was possible – “if people aren't able to think critically about all the information they're given.”

The Google engineer particularly stressed the need to be rid of the idea that technology is somehow independent of humans and that tech products are free of human biases.

Otherwise, he warned, it will be easy to mislead and manipulate the public.

As for Coppola's status inside the company after his open and controversial criticism of its policies, he confirmed that he was currently on administrative leave – in other words, suspended – and that his future was uncertain.

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Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovich is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovich is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]
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