“Do not be evil” (literally, “Do not be malicious”) has been the informal motto of Google. Regarding corporate culture, this motto has become the central identity pillar of Google. In this regard, Larry Page wrote in 2004 that “By this phrase, which is our motto, we have tried to define precisely what being a beneficial force means – always doing the right thing, ethical.”
With the creation of Alphabet as Google’s parent company, this motto has become “Do the right thing,” which can be translated as “doing the right thing” or “choosing the right thing to do.” However, Google has kept its original expression “do not be malicious” until the last few weeks.
While digging into the Internet Machine 21 April 2018 archive, we can see the phrase in a previous code of conduct:
“Do not be malicious, Googlers generally apply these words to the way we serve our users, but “Do not be malicious” is more than just that, it’s about providing our users with unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs, giving them the best products and services we can, but It is also about doing the right thing more generally, for example by complying with the law, acting honorably and treating colleagues with courtesy and respect.
“The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways to put” Do not be malicious “into practice. It is built around the recognition that everything we do as part of our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct. We set the bar high for practical and ideal reasons: our commitment to the highest standards allows us to hire great people, create great products and attract loyal users. Trust and mutual respect between employees and users is the foundation of our success, and we must win them every day. “
However, the words “Do not be malicious” do not appear in the updated Code of Conduct, an update that seems to have taken place on April 5, 2018, and is present in the archives dated May 4, 2018.
“The Google Code of Conduct is one way to put Google’s values into practice. It is built around the recognition that everything we do as part of our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct. We set the bar high for practical and ideal reasons: our commitment to the highest standards allows us to hire great people, create great products and attract loyal users. The respect of our users, of the opportunity and each other is the foundation of our success, and we must support them every day.
“Read the Google Code and Values, and respect both the spirit and the prescriptions while always keeping in mind that each of us has the personal responsibility to incorporate and encourage other Googlers to embrace the principles of the Code and values in our work. Moreover, if you have a question or think that one of your fellow Googlers or the company as a whole might be below our commitment, do not be silent. We want – and need – to hear from you.
All mentions of “do not be evil” have been removed except for one, relegated to the very last line of the long code of conduct that becomes “and remember, do not be evil.”
Such a change could indicate that this currency is not as valuable to Google as it was before.
Changes in the middle of a crisis This change comes as several Google engineers have slammed the doors of the company because of the Maven project. The latter aims to improve the operations of drones by using image recognition technologies. According to the Pentagon, the initial goal is to provide the army with advanced computer vision, allowing automatic detection and identification of objects (classified in no less than 38 categories) captured by a drone’s camera. The project, therefore, aims to track specific targets more easily.
Since March 2018, the management team of Google manages correspondence of protests of both its staff and organizations for the defense of freedoms on the Internet. 3100 employees (minimum) of the firm expressed their support for its withdrawal from this project called Maven. As a follow-up, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has generally called on technology companies to extricate themselves from collaborations of the same kind.
“We are asking for the Maven project to be canceled and for Google to prepare, publish and introduce rules that state that the company and its subcontractors will never be involved in the construction of war material,” employees said in Sundar Pichai.
Only, the reference to a publication (published in July 2017) of the Department of Defense (DoD) of the United States, it is about “win wars based on algorithms and artificial intelligence. Later in the DoD paper, a colonel in the US Army recalls that “we [the US] are in the race for autonomous weapons. “Hard under such conditions not to see a perverted use of Google’s AI, including, to excel in targeted strikes. In this regard, the giant Tech. Once again cleared that the construction of this technology to help the US government in military surveillance – with potentially fatal results – is not acceptable, but it can not outsource the moral responsibility of its technologies to some thirds.