Former Google boss launches scathing Silicon Valley attack urging tech giants to end the delusion that it’s making the world a better place

Saturday, October 6, 2018
By Paul Martin

Google’s own former PR chief Jessica Powell called the firm ‘deluded’ in essay
She hit out in attack at the web giant, saying the firm ‘takes itself too seriously’
Executive breaks the code of secrecy which surrounds Silicon Valley companies

By KATHERINE RUSHTON
DAILYMAIL.COM
6 October 2018

A former Google boss has launched a withering attack on the firm, calling technology giants deluded.

Jessica Powell said she had become tired of defending the company in her role as its top PR chief.

‘This is an industry that takes itself far too seriously, and its own responsibility not seriously enough,’ she added.

‘I want Silicon Valley to end the self-delusion and either fess up to the reality we are creating, or live up to the vision we market to the world each day. Because if you’re going to tell people you’re their saviour, you better be ready to be held to a higher standard.’

Miss Powell, 40, launched her searing criticism in an essay and satirical novel, both published this week, which together paint a damning portrait of the Silicon Valley culture.

She said: ‘We go about saying that we’re building these amazing things and doing great things for the world but we’re also causing a lot of serious problems.

‘There is a real problem that we have of black and white thinking – that we lead with data all the time. You say, “Oh well, of two billion users maybe a small percentage of that is bad actors”.

‘It’s very easy to forget that that’s electoral interference, that’s live-streamed suicides, that’s Myanmar. It’s really horrific stuff.’

Her powerful assault is the first of its kind to come from someone so senior at Google, and one of very few to come from Silicon Valley where executives keep to a code of secrecy.

The former journalist, who has three children, said she had been tempted to publish her novel – The Big Disruption – under a pseudonym but felt an obligation to break the silence.

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