A pressing dilemma is troubling the budget departments of Intel, the chip and microprocessor giant. Should they invest in STEM education, to cultivate the next generation of American geniuses? Or should they blow all their cash on finding people with the right skin colour and genitals?
It shouldn’t be a difficult choice. But apparently it is. The company recently announced that it’s pulling $6 million in sponsorship for the Science Talent Search, just months after memos leaked to the Oregonian indicated that they’d have to slash budgets by $300 million across business groups.
Does that $300m number sound familiar? It should: it’s the same amount Intel pledged “diversity” efforts, including the widely derided Feminist Frequency, just a few months ago.
It would seem that pointless, hand-wringing political gestures have become more important to Intel than cultivating scientific expertise in America and Israel. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Intel’s diversity drive was a direct response to hectoring from people whose primary experience of tech is complaining about microaggressions on social media.
Twitter feminists reacted with outrage last year when Intel pulled advertising from the gaming website Gamasutra, after the site posted an editorial by then-editor Leigh Alexander titled “‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience, ‘Gamers are over.”
The decision to pull ads was prompted by complaints from the GamerGate movement, but it quickly turned into a nightmare for Intel, which found itself caught in one of the web’s biggest culture wars. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the episode prompted “soul searching” on his part, and was a factor in the $300m diversity pledge.
As rival chip manufacturer AMD has continued to court gamers, Intel is lavishing attention on divisive figures like cultural critics Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh, the latter of which is an Israel-hating far-leftist. A bizarre choice for a chip company with such deep roots in Israel.
Burned by the criticism over their GamerGate ad pull, Intel decided to support the radical authoritarian left. But while Intel may have hoped to start an industry-wide conversation on diversity in tech, and perhaps get some good PR in the process, the company is now facing the humiliating prospect of swapping research and development for feminist pearl-clutching about the representation of women in microchip factories.
A general decline in PC sales has forced Intel to overhaul its chip line-up, and reduce overall spending for the second half of the year. According to a memo leaked to the Oregonian in June, Intel has also begun layoffs:
We need to reduce overall spending for the second half of the year. Some of this will come from reductions in employment and some from other spending cuts. Employee reductions will vary by business group.
In other words, Intel employees are losing their jobs so Anita Sarkeesian can pocket cash to bleat on conference stages about all the mean tweets she gets sent and how men are just, like, the worst thing ever.
I should be clear here and say that there’s no indication from Intel that the two spending decisions are closely linked. But you have to admit the number parity is striking. And we don’t know what slice of the pie Sarkeesian and co got from Intel’s feminist war chest.
But regular readers of this column will know that diversity spending is at best a speculative investment. If there is any peer reviewed research that says these efforts lead companies to greater profits, I have yet to read it. If such a study exists, I am certain it will be angrily tweeted at me soon by someone with blue hair.
It’s perhaps worth drawing attention to some photos of past winners of the Science Talent Search, which includes Nobel Prize winners and prominent scientists. It’s a diverse bunch, by both race and gender. These are the people who are also losing out, thanks to Intel’s incomparably stupid decision to spend hundreds of millions on fashionable feminist nonsense.
Instead of these competitors receiving an opportunity to change the world for their fellow man, gender studies majors will be paid to hector us about the sorts of video games we play.
It may seem unfair to the students and employees who’ll bear the brunt of Intel’s budget cuts, but I’m sure a lumberjack in hoop earrings can explain why it’s all really quite necessary – proving her value to Intel by releasing barely an hour’s worth of video content every six months.
Meanwhile, as I mentioned, AMD is relentlessly pursuing the valuable gamer demographic. Some even see subtle nods to GamerGate in their adverts. AMD has backed the winning horse: as tablets and mobile device sales grow, gamers are becoming ever-more important in the PC and hardware market. AMD knows where its bread is buttered.
Less support for women in STEM, less money, fewer jobs. All for more whiny middle-class feminism and social justice shakedowns. If I were an investor, I’d be dropping Intel stock like hot rocks.