When asked to imagine a computer scientist in your head, you'll likely picture a very specific person: pale, nerdy, spectacled, and male. Hollywood is one of the driving forces behind this stereotype, and now Google wants to use film and TV to undo it.
As Deadline reports, Google announced at the Tribeca Film Festival yesterday that they are partnering with The Black List to award grants of up to $15,000 to scripts that portray computer science in a refreshing light. Submissions are open until July 15, and once they've been reviewed, the team will select one feature and two television pilots they feel combat computer scientist clichés in pop culture. From there, the winners will have six months to develop their scripts before presenting their final work to Google.
The contest not only aims to do away with harmful stereotypes, but also hopes to offer visibility to underrepresented groups. It's part of an initiative from Google to inspire young people to get actively involved in technology—in particular, young women and minorities.
Unfortunately, the perception of people in tech being overwhelmingly male and white has basis outside of pop culture. All of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies perform poorly when it comes to diversity. At Google itself, men make up about 84 percent of the staff. And the numbers for diversity in Hollywood don't look much brighter, which means this project could have a positive impact on more than one industry.