How Math and Language Relate–or Don’t

Google is rapidly becoming the Catholic Church–and Grand Inquisitor–of all things ‘Net-based.

Now, what exactly in reality does Google do?  It sends out crawlers, spiders, bots–whatever you wish to call them–to rate Web sites and their content/acceptability based on mathematical algorithms.  Hmmm….

How do math equations rate language and value to users?  That’s a good question, and spammers have been dreaming up ways to cheat the algorithms since they were first employed in search engines more than a decade ago.

That being said, there is something inherently weird about using non-humans to rate human word usage and intent.  In a search sense, there is no alternative to these algorithms, and the results generally work.  But “generally work” is not the same as “always work” or “work perfectly.”

I worry about the future of searching and filtering the Internet, which basically comes down to censorship based on spider-mathematical logic, which follows Googlian standards.  Google is certainly an investor’s current best friend, but I’m not so sure it’s any friend to free speech.

Google, as I mentioned, may be the Grand Inquisitor of the Internet.  We need to revisit that 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad blasting IBM as Big Brother.  We now do have a Big Brother, and we should be afraid.  Bureaucrats, Google or algorithms, they are not friends of openness, free markets and free speech.

1 Comment

  1. Here here. Good point my friend, and well put as well. Although I think Google are coming up with some really good and novel uses of the current net technologies, I don’t think I trust them as far as I could throw the Googleplex. Which isn’t that far.

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