Google Bashing: Two Fresh Sidewinders Launch

September 3, 2017

Here in Harrods Creek, we love the Google. The Google bashing, it seems to us near the pond filled with mine drainage, is adopting a new tactic. We call it the sidewinder. Quick and erratic, the new attack may catch the Google by surprise.

The write up “YouTube Video Captions Are More Accurate If You’re White” touches a broken tooth. The idea is that auto generated text explanation and some metadata are biased. The idea that allegedly objective functions manifest biases is an extension of the argument that if algorithms are created by humans, those human creations can reflect the biases of their creators. How does one prove that algorithms which are not easy to parse delivered  non objective results? That is a challenge, isn’t it? How will Google respond to this allegation?

The race card article asserts:

But when it came to race, both YouTube and Bing were more accurate when captioning Caucasian speakers than any other race. “The fact that they are recognized with more errors is most likely due to bias in the training data,” she wrote..

We note that Bing has the same “problem,” but the Microsofties are not associated with the “math is it” approach promulgated by Google technical papers and PR as the Google. If this type of racial argument pgets traction, life could get more exciting for the GOOG.

The seocnd tactic seems to surface in a write up not focused on Google. “Silicon Valley Has Been Humbled. But Its Schemes Are As Dangerous As Ever.” The approach here is to assert that the state of mind “Silicon Valley” has become an ideological junk yard. Sounds good, doesn’t it? The reality may ot line up with the assertion, but for making life tough for the Googley, the assertion is at least plausible.

The write up points out:

An industry once hailed for fueling the Arab spring is today repeatedly accused of abetting Islamic State. An industry that prides itself on diversity and tolerance is now regularly in the news for cases of sexual harassment as well as the controversial views of its employees on matters such as gender equality. An industry that built its reputation on offering us free things and services is now regularly assailed for making other things – housing, above all – more expensive.

Care to try to explain these allegations which seem like “factoids” away? Tough job.

The write up asks:

how could one possibly expect a bunch of rent-extracting enterprises with business models that are reminiscent of feudalism to resuscitate global capitalism and to establish a new New Deal that would constrain the greed of capitalists, many of whom also happen to be the investors behind these firms?

I admire “have you stopped beating your dog” questions.

Now these sidewinder attacks are used to question Google’s objectivity and damning the company  because it is a keystone of the Silicon Valley’s fragile arch.

Despite our backwoods understanding of these big city issues, we surmise that more sidewinder tactics will be fired against a company we embrace, nay, love. A “star wars defense” is needed. And fast even inInternet time.

Stephen E Arnold, September 3, 2017



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