In the latest in a series of reports on Big Tech bias by Project Veritas, a senior Google engineer goes on the record to warn against the political bias built into the search engine’s algorithms, which he said are definitely “taking sides” in political contests.
The engineer, Greg Coppola, a senior software engineer in the Google Assistant division, told Project Veritas that he was going public with his warning in an attempt to encourage increased transparency in Big Tech amid what he described as an increasingly politically biased atmosphere. Claiming there’s no bias in Google’s algorithms is “ridiculous,” he said; the algorithms “don’t write themselves.” The clear bias he said is apparent to “everyone who supports anything other than the Democrats, anyone who’s pro-Trump or in any way deviates from what CNN and the New York Times are pushing.”
“I’ve been coding since I was ten [years old.] I have a PhD, I have five years’ experience at Google and I just know how algorithms are,” said Coppola (partial transcript via Project Veritas). “They don’t write themselves. We write them to do what want them to do.”
“I think we’re just at a really important point in human history,” he said in explanation for why he is coming forward. “I think for a while we had tech that was politically neutral. Now we have tech that really, first of all is taking sides in a political contest, which I think, you know, anytime you have big corporate power merging with political parties can be dangerous. And I think more generally we have to just decide now that we kind of are seeing tech use its power to manipulate people. It’s a time to decide, you know, do we run the technology, does the technology run us?”
Asked about Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifying in front of Congress last December that there’s no bias in his company’s searches, Coppola said that while he respects Pichai a great deal, the claim is “ridiculous.”
“First of all, I report to Sundar of course. And I have a great deal of respect for him as a manager,” he said. “I work on the Google Assistant, which really doesn’t have a political bias. Google Assistant is things like, hey, Google, set an alarm for nine AM, play some music, that type of stuff… I think it’s, you know, ridiculous to say that there’s no bias. I think everyone who supports anything other than the Democrats, anyone who’s pro-Trump or in any way deviates from what CNN and the New York Times are pushing, notices how bad it is.”
The problem of political bias in Big Tech has gotten worse in recent years, he argued. After about a decade of relative neutrality, people began to trust companies like Google to provide them unbiased means of finding information. “We haven’t had time to absorb the fact that tech might have an agenda,” he said. The turning point in Big Tech from relatively neutral to increasingly partisan, he suggested, was Donald Trump’s presidential run.
“I think as the election started to ramp up, the angle that the Democrats and the media took was that anyone who liked Donald Trump was a racist…,” he said. “And that got picked up everywhere. I mean, every tech company, everybody in New York, everybody in the field of computer science basically believed that.”
As for solutions to the growing bias problem, he stressed the need for more transparency. Watch the full interview here.