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Barry Diller: Bill Gates had 'emotional quotient of a snail'

Commentary: The IAC chair says tech people lack nuance, but can make emotional progress. He cites the Microsoft co-founder as a prime example.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The human capabilities of those who run tech companies are being severely questioned.

Rapacious nerds like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might be able to grow a tech company, but can they develop a sense of what real human beings actually feel and need

French President Emmanuel Macron Receives One Planet Summit's International Leaders At Elysee Palace In Paris

He's made emotional strides, according to Barry Diller. 

Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Current evidence doesn't always support the notion.

Which is why words uttered by Barry Diller to The New York Times' Maureen Dowd take on a timely flavor.

In the interview, Diller -- chairman of IAC, which owns such loving brands as Tinder, OKCupid and Match.com -- was asked what he thought about the incursion of Netflix and Amazon into moviemaking.

How would Silicon Valley's bro culture impact Hollywood, which itself is known for its, well, sexist ways?

"They're tech people," he said. "They don't have a lot of romance in them. They don't have a lot of nuance in them. Their lives are ones and zeros."

His description enjoys an eerie accuracy. Too many tech companies have produced soulless products that demand machine-like behavior from humans. And, at their helm, have been machine-like humans.

Diller, though, wasn't entirely dismissive of tech people's potential to embrace humanity. 

"When I met Bill Gates, I would say he had the emotional quotient of a snail. And now you can see him cry," he said.

Neither Bill nor Melinda Gates immediately responded to a request for comment. 

The Microsoft co-founder and his wife have, of course, been associated with an enormous amount of charitable work, striving to eradicate malaria and trying to reduce inequality in the world.

There's something in the notion that when you pull many tech people away from the power and algorithms they so enjoy, they begin to see the world in a slightly different light.

Why, look at all the former Facebook executives who now worry about what the site is doing to children's minds.

Diller, though, was at pains to say he doesn't think these tech titans are our overlords. 

"Our overlords are artificial intelligence," he said. 

I have an idea. Perhaps Diller could take over Facebook. Might that help in bringing at least a touch of human sanity to the site -- and its algorithms?

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech. 

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