What to do about Google?

What problem needs solving and how to do it.

Problem needing to be solved: Google has changed from a purveyor of data to a purveyor of information. In doing so, the information loses context and has become slanted to the personal views of its developers.

Newspapers do the same thing Google does but it is possible to read newspapers that are tuned to your point of view. You can also read newspapers that offer different points of view from the same data. Newspapers also face the possibility of lawsuits for libel as well as a loss of integrity when they print things that are not true or misleading.

Google, through its rankings algorithms, has the potential to rank one point of view higher than another point of view at the whim of its developers. This is unprecedented in the history of the country and contains an inherit Homeland Security risk of allowing a potentially nefarious misinformation campaign to be launched either internally or through foreign actors.

Google also uses the psychology principle of “authority.” Authority relates to the fact people often  base their beliefs on what authority figures tell them. You see this in TV ads all the time — “Four out five dentists say . . .”

The use of this principle is also a Homeland Security risk since it would be possible to advance the thoughts of certain authority figures above others with differing views.

Solution: What makes Google dangerous is that it is a monopoly, extremely successful, and almost ubiquitous in our lives. As a monopoly, it must be broken up and its risk to the Homeland eliminated.

Let me describe one method which while simple in concept is, admittedly, much more complex in execution.

Google exists of four parts:

  1. Data which has been gathered from the Internet by a “webcrawler.”
  2. A ranking system that operates through algorithms augmented by human added heuristics. heuristic is a rule or method that helps you solve problems faster than you would if you did all the computing. In software development, you use heuristics to speed up the software as well as to have the software give the user some information without doing a calculation. For example, a heuristic is likely used to suggest spelling mistakes. (See Note). Another heuristic might be “assume Trump is lying” when ranking his statements on issues along side other statements. Or “assume Barack Obama is always correct and truthful.”
  3. A method to monetize through Adwords.
  4. A user interface.

What needs to happen is that #1 needs to be broken out as a separate company. You might even make the case that the Government needs to own this company and license the data to ensure bad actors aren’t manipulating the raw data to their own ends.

The ranking, monetization, and user interface needs to spin off as a separate company that uses the licensed data. This data could be licensed to anyone that wished to use it creating competition through the ability to take the same “truth” and present it to the user in ways that deliver the best experience.

The hard part is that Google isn’t likely architected exactly this way. It could be but undoubtedly the entire system would need to be rewritten. This isn’t all bad and there’s something to be said for having the government pay for a product that would do the data collecting in such a manner that other users could access it. Technically, this is called an application programming interface or API.

It may be necessary to make webcrawlers illegal but it’s more likely that Google would simply try to be first to market with its ranking and monetization tools since that’s were the value lies — not in the raw data itself.

Now that Google’s taken care of, we’ll tackle Twitter and Facebook. See — that wasn’t so hard.

Note: In a three letter word, there are 26 X 26 X 26 possible combinations.17,576 possible combinations.If we assume that someone using a standard keyboard, they’re likely to either hit the right key or an adjacent key. this gives us 9X9X9 possible variants or 729 combinations. If one of the possibilities is a non-letter, we can throw those out. Using this heuristic, you can much quicker determine a suggested word for one that appears to be misspelled.

Mark Rosneck

Written by Mark Rosneck

Site owner and bilagáana


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