We need data to know. Are old people better as you claim? Are they worse? same?
Jazi Zilber

Let me understand what you are proposing, Jazi. In order to not discriminate you must have data that the discriminated against group is just as good or better, by some metric, than those who are not discriminated against? Is this really what you’re proposing?

And then there’s the issue of metric. A successful person has many attributes. In software one of these is tenacity. Much of what is involved in bringing real systems up takes the tenacity to keep going, trying one thing and then another until it works (try bringing a large scale, multi-service system up on AWS one of these days). There is also perspective and experience. And finally there’s coding ability, which I contend is not reflected in white board interview questions. So what metric are you going to propose and how are you going to show that it’s valid?

Let us say, for the sake of argument, that you could, in fact, show that older people are not as good by some measure compared to younger people. This is obviously true in some physical endeavors. This does not mean that it is true for every older person.

The point in fighting discrimination is to see people as they are, not as some preconceived notion. The moment that you bin someone into a group and treat them as a member of that group, you are practicing discrimination. While most people do not want to admit to racial or gender discrimination, age discrimination is no better.

There is one final point: you will either die or get old (and then die). These days, you can be vibrant and active in your 50s, 60s and even 70s. So what are you going to be? Are you going to be washed up at 40? And will you have learned nothing of value? What’s it going to be like applying for a job and not getting it, not because of your skills but only because of your age?

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