The following is part of an interview NPR aired on July 7, 2009 between “Marketplace’s” Kai Ryssdal and Google Chairman of the Board and CEO Eric Schmidt, and it should scare the tar out of us all.
“Ryssdal: I’m going to crib from myself in the conversation we had not too long ago at the Ideas Festival and ask you if “don’t be evil” means “always be good?”
Schmidt: “You asked [that question then] and it’s the best question I’ve had on that in many, many years. We use “don’t be evil” as a way of discussing what to do. We don’t know what the definition of good and evil is….”
“Don’t be evil” is the informal motto or slogan of Google. Yet, the company’s CEO admits they “don’t know the definition of good and evil!” Neither does America.
We can celebrate the life of a pedophile as if he were royalty, and mourn the death of an abortionist as tragic. We demand a young woman have her parent’s permission to get her ears pierced but not her womb vacuumed. We protect unborn brown pelicans, but not unborn babies. We think it’s a man’s duty to defend women and children and a woman’s right to defend men. We believe fornication is “living together” rather than dying together (Proverbs 2: 18, 19) and marriage till death do us part is a right of homosexuals but not a duty for heterosexuals. We as a people can no longer discern good and evil. It’s all a matter of taste. If you’re taste is for children, their bodies or blood, who am I to call that evil? Nor may I deny that you can call it good.
As dangerous as it is for the individual when people are no longer able to distinguish good and evil, it is far more serious to individuals when a multibillion dollar company admits it doesn’t know the definition of good or evil. What if the CEO of General Motors had made such a statement in 1969 when what was good for GM was good for the country? Add to this that Google is the chief worldwide interface for information.
Would you go to a doctor, a lawyer, a mechanic even who said he didn’t know the definition of good and evil? I’m not saying it would be wrong to. A thorough pagan can be excellent at what they do. I’m saying given a choice would you?
There could be one hopeful caveat. Great evil is usually perpetrated by those who firmly believe they are doing good. Perhaps, a company that admits it doesn’t know what either of those are will be stultified or stupefied into doing little of either.
I’m just glad to know that corporate america has a conscience and that they know exactly how to purge and sift all of the guilt which might enter into it when they are tempted to violate their nifty slogan as well as their tender consciences.CEO Schmidt admits that when they were contemplating whether or not to offer search services in China “We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil”.
Yeah, Scott, it’s good to have an accurate evil scale. I’m sure
Google’s evil algorithm found that “not to serve” was
several billion Hail Mary’s, while “serving” was only 100
million or so. Or maybe that was dollars?