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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Google News : Human Or Robot?

Andrew Orlowski takes a dim note of a Wired interview with Google News' creator, Krishna Bharat, who makes stunningly crazy claims about a service that occasionally makes itself controvesial with its arguable choices of what's news. In the Wired interview, Bharat says, among other things: "Google News doesn't have a point of view. It's a computer, and computers do not understand these topics the way humans do and can't be systematically biased in any direction. The outcome is completely neutral to the topic." This is a bizarre idea. Since humans programmed the computers, human biases -- or at least mistakes -- inevitably creep into the results.

As Orlowski notes:
"Google's refusal to take responsibility for its actions isn't exactly original: at one point in an Antitrust deposition Bill Gates claimed that "the computer wrote" one particular incriminating email". It's the "cat ate my homework" excuse of the 21st Century. But Google insults the intelligence of its users, who are well aware that Google's computers process whatever its human operators tell them to process.What the Bharatbot doesn't seem to have been programmed with is the experience of ever having being someone who reads the news himself: and experience is often the vital difference between bot and machine
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