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Of course algorithms are biased


From Nanette Byrnes at Technology Review:

We seem to be idolizing algorithms, imagining they are more objective than their creators.

The dustup over Facebook’s “trending topics” list and its possible liberal bias hit such a nerve that the U.S. Senate called on the company to come up with an official explanation, and this week COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company will begin training employees to identify and control their political leanings.

This is just one result, however, of a broader trend that Fred Benenson, Kickstarter’s former data chief, calls “mathwashing”: our tendency to idolize programs like Facebook’s as entirely objective because they have mathematics at their core.More.

Grasshopper, who is the “we” who thought they weren’t biased?

See also: Darwin’s Doubt: Fake Steve Meyer Facebook pages a new Internet publishing craze


More self-deceptive blather on academic freedom

OT: Were the Greatest Philosophers Theists or Atheists? Excerpt: 1. Plato (c. 429-347 BC) 2. Aristotle (384-322 BC) 3. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) 4. René Descartes (1596-1650) 5. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) 6. Socrates (c. 470-399 BC) 7. Benedictus de Spinoza  (1632-1677) ….. The first seven philosophers on my list are great philosophers, the rest are important but not great.,,, The greatest philosophers on my list are Plato, Aristotle,  Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Socrates, and Spinoza. All of these are theists  of one sort or another.  But even if Spinoza is excluded, that leaves six out of seven. And if you argue that Aristotle's Prime Mover is not God in any serious sense, then I've still got five out of seven. If you say I rigged my list so that theists come out on top, I will deny the charge and argue that I used independent criteria (listed above). But if you disagree my assessment, I will consider it par for the course. http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2011/07/were-the-greatest-philosophers-theists-or-atheists.html bornagain77

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