Thursday, August 13, 2009

Algorithms, as programs are as intelligent and as impartial as the programmer who writes them

Google admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

Not so very long ago, Google disclaimed responsibility for its search results by explaining that these were chosen by a computer algorithm. The disclaimer lives on at Google News, where we are assured that:

The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program.

I've always wondered where people thought impartial computer algorithms came from. Every computer algorithm I've known was designed by some human to meet some specific goal.

Perhaps people are just discovering that computer algorithms are as objective as news editors are.
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