Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bias in Computer Systems and Search Engines


Recently, reading the work of Nissenbaum on Bias in Computer Systems and search engines has been quite eye-opening in terms of my everyday unconscious bias in my personal search methods and programming. For the most part, it seems like the algorithm design for most search engines is a mixture of hard work and some intellectual laziness. To truly determine the relevance of a given site to a search term requires more than just simple surface reading or simple-minded spiders crawling around the internet. However, short of an artificially intelligent search resource of impeccable morals, true relevance independent of moneyed backing is not something that will soon surface, unless of course, we somehow utilize the digg and del.icio.us approach of allowing the user to qualify the relevance of a site. This of course can also be prone to abuse as more than one user has managed to digg fallacious information, giving it the credentials of a truly useful resource.

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