Saturday, 18 January 2014

Are Politically Correct Search Algorithms Quelling Writer's Free Speech - I Am Concerned

It sometimes amazes me that all the high tech gurus in our society and throughout industry believe in free-speech, and they go out of their way to make sure that no one tries to limit free speech anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, on the other hand this same group is writing algorithms which are quelling free-speech, even if they don't realize it. Welcome to the world of high-tech political correctness and search engine algorithms. Okay so let's talk about this for a second shall we?

In MIT Technology Review, volume 116, No.2, there was an article titled; "Free Speech in the Era of ITs Technological Amplification - A Letter to John Stuart Mill" by Jason Pontin. Indeed, the author of that particular article brings up a very good point. If only certain voices, certain opinions, and certain political statements are allowed to go viral, or appear in high rankings on the various popular search engines, then those indeed become the default setting for our overall society. You must remember that people believe what they read, hear, and see even if it is on YouTube, or on someone's blog.

If those with a different opinion don't get heard, they don't get replayed, re-tweeted, or liked. In that case they get drowned out, and isn't that censorship in another form? We keep telling ourselves in our society that the individual is important, and we need a diversity of opinions to help get to what's real, and to allow everyone to belong. However if people who disagree are silenced in any way including being eliminated from the first three pages of a particular search engine query, then in essence their voices are not heard.

It seems to me there is a little bit of hypocrisy going on, and no one is talking about it. Worse, if people write about it - who is to say that those observations, experiences, or even perhaps opinions will show up in the search engine? How many hits, views, or "likes" do you think this article might get? Probably not that many, and yet each and every day people go about their business searching things online, and are brought to pages as long as those pages reflect the political correctness of some search engine algorithm writer.

Indeed, I find this a little bit troubling. Why you ask? Simple, because many of those algorithm writers might be very good at computer science, but they may not have experienced all there is in the rest of the world, and yet they are filtering data and information for mass consumption, and only letting through that filter what they see fit, or what they believe to be the politically correct trends of our age, trends which will surely change. Of course, they will change faster and perhaps in a different direction if the computer science algorithm writers choose that to be the course for humanity.

How on earth would they know what's best? It's arrogant for anyone to believe that they alone should have that level of power, especially if we really truly do care about free-speech, the individual, and the creative genius mind. Please consider all this and think on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment