Tim Hwang, former global public policy lead for machine learning at Google, claimed President Trump made a “good point” about the company’s bias this week.
During his interview with Slate, Hwang pointed out that Google lacks transparency, a constant point of contention for Breitbart News and other critics of the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe, including Trump 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, who has targeted Facebook on transparency.
“The president’s tweet is picking up on a good point, but I don’t take as conspiratorial a view as he does on the questions of whether it’s biased or not biased,” declared Hwang. “I don’t think the question is whether or not it’s biased. All these systems embed some kind of bias. The question is: Do we have transparency to how some of these decisions are being made?”
“After responding to a lot of complaints about the quality of information coming through these platforms, a lot of these platforms — Facebook and Google included — have said that they want improve the quality of information. One way they’ve done that is to say, ‘OK, well here is a set of websites that we think are more credible than others.’ I think the choice of that is inherently a subjective act,” he continued. “No matter how you slice it, it imposes some point of view or some lens on the world of what is and is not credible.”
Hwang also proposed that many of the problems Google and Facebook face would go away if they simply had more transparency, so users could see why certain things happened.
“There are many ways of improving transparency that don’t necessarily require you to give up the exact code that would allow you to game the system,” he expressed. “Even the list of what they consider credible outlets is a really interesting and important thing for them to talk about and give more transparency. There are obvious reasons why they don’t: They feel like people would take it as conclusive evidence that they’re biased in some way.”
“But I think we have to move away from a world in which these platforms feel like they can ever return to a place where the public views them as completely neutral, and instead opt for a greater demonstration of their process and workflow, recognizing that they can’t be fully objective and neutral in some perfect way,” Hwang concluded.
This week, President Trump warned Google and other Big Tech companies that they “better be careful,” following reports of bias in Silicon Valley.
“I think what Google and what others are doing – if you look at what is going on with Twitter and if you look at what’s going on in Facebook, they better be careful because you can’t do that to people… You can’t do it,” expressed President Trump. “I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful… It is not fair to large portions of the population.”
Trump also criticized Google Search’s overwhelmingly biased news results for the term “Trump,” which prioritized content from CNN and other left-wing news outlets, and excluded major conservative sources.