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Google’s Truthbot gets upended by reality

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From Eric Worrall at Watts Up With That?:

Google’s efforts to filter out positions which they think are fake news, like climate skeptic posts, have hit an unexpected snag: Google have just noticed large groups of people across the world hold views which differ from the views championed by the Silicon Valley monoculture.

Like we said, the snag is people.

As a climate skeptic and IT expert I’m finding this Google difficulty highly entertaining.

What people like Google’s Schmidt desperately want to discover is a generalised way of detecting fake news. They believe in their hearts that climate skepticism for example is as nutty as thinking the moon landings were faked, but they have so far failed to find a common marker which allows their personal prejudices to be confirmed as objective reality.

Darwin’s faithful do much the same in science education. No matter what is happening in evolution studies, Darwin is always right.

To put it another way, in the case of climate skepticism I suspect Google’s problem is they have discovered there are lots of published mainstream peer reviewed papers which support climate skeptic positions. This is likely messing up their efforts to classify climate skepticism as not being part of mainstream science. More.

If there were not at least some such papers, we should suspect political manipulation. For example, only in totalitarian regimes, does the party’s candidate get 100% of the vote.

But basically: Humans vs. bots? Humans won because bots don’t believe anything and we are not yet forced to believe the bots.

See also: A note on that fired Google engineer (who got his start in biology). You’d think he’d have known from Biology Today 101 by then: It’s all about feelings, not about facts.

Apple diversity chief lasts just six months Apparently, there are only one or two ways to be diverse and Silicon Valley is in the process of narrowing it down further.

New Mexico: Science standards changes draw protest

and

What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news? Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news.

3 Replies to “Google’s Truthbot gets upended by reality

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    Ohhhh, my favorite subject (Klymate Syence), rears it’s ugly head!

    As a climate skeptic and IT expert I’m finding this Google difficulty highly entertaining

    As a climate skeptic IT guy, I find this somewhat amusing my own self.

    I’m going to forgo my usual Global Warming Meathead Pathetic Loser bashing and simply wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving. We do have much to be thankful for and a wonderful Provider to thank.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News, Truth is easy to understand but in a world of entrenched stubbornly defended errors and absurdities it is hard to achieve. Ari in Metaphysics 1011b put it well: truth says of what is, that it is, and of what is not that it is not. Google is rediscovering that philosophy is the discipline that studies hard questions — those with no easy answers i/l/o comparative difficulties of the live options. And, censoring out politically incorrect but otherwise live options is self-defeating. KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Worrall hits hard here:

    What people like Google’s Schmidt desperately want to discover is a generalised way of detecting fake news. They believe in their hearts that climate skepticism for example is as nutty as thinking the moon landings were faked, but they have so far failed to find a common marker which allows their personal prejudices to be confirmed as objective reality.

    Google could and likely does simply impose their prejudices, explicitly demoting climate skeptic articles and specific websites to the bottom of their list – but they feel guilty about doing this, because they know imposing their personal views on the search algorithm is cheating. Explicitly imposing personal prejudices on their search ranking algorithm forces Google to admit to themselves that those views are prejudices. It bothers them that they have not yet discovered a way to objectively justify those prejudices by applying a generalised filter to their underlying data.

    To put it another way, in the case of climate skepticism I suspect Google’s problem is they have discovered there are lots of published mainstream peer reviewed papers which support climate skeptic positions. This is likely messing up their efforts to classify climate skepticism as not being part of mainstream science.

    The mounting evidence US tech giants are refusing to accept is that their Silicon Valley monoculture might be wrong about a few issues

    Notice, how ethics cannot be separated from rationality.

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