Singularity 1on1: Fund Raising Event

September 22, 2016

Editor’s note: To donate to Singularity 1on1, click this link[.

In a conversation with Nikola Danaylov, the engaging entrepreneur behind Singularity 1 on 1, has tallied more than four million downloads. When I first met him, he referenced Socrates, the Athenian philosopher. Danaylov’s approach to information is based on questions. My thought is that he is the modern counterpart to the individuals who learn and cause others to learn via rigorous questioning. The remarkable video interview series has been featured on BBC, ArteTV, and TV Japan, among other high impact outlets.


The service, available at this link, is a conversation about exponential growth, accelerating change, artificial intelligence and ethics – because technology is not enough.

The main idea is that we are not experiencing a shift in technology but rather a shift in humanity.  So everything that we know for certain is certainly going to change if we are to survive the 21st century; for example, political processes, economics, law, religion, and the very meaning of what it means to be human.

Danaylov told me:

The blog is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the tough questions in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. It aims to spark a conversation about the impact of technology, exponential growth and artificial intelligence where everyone’s opinions and participation are greatly encouraged.

He added:

So while I do not shy to provide my opinion but place no claim on its superiority because the goal is to get the audience actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation about the future of humanity.

From my vantage point, Singularity Weblog’s value may be not so much in the answers it provides, but in the Questions it raises — the kind that everybody could or should be asking.

In addition to the video interviews, Singularity Weblog:

  • Publishes relevant articles by Socrates and his friends.
  • Posts interviews with the best scientists, writers, entrepreneurs, film-makers, journalists, philosophers and artists.
  • Brings attention to relevant news stories, films, media and scientific developments.
  • Provides an online discussion forum where readers and supporters can start a conversation on issues important to them.
  • Gives people a platform to write and share your own great content.

Danaylov is deeply in love with learning but keenly aware that his personal knowledge is always going to be dwarfed by his ignorance: a man who knows that he doesn’t know; a man with many questions and few answers of his own… Thus Singularity Weblog is, and will always remain to be, an open and collaborative work in progress. And Nikola is, and will remain to be, a student and a host, rather than a teacher or an owner.

Yet, I learned that Danaylov is of the strong belief that we can attain profound insights by asking challenging questions in the company of good people, gathered within an open, informal and interactive symposium. Danaylov hopes to be the midwife, and Singularity Weblog – the setting, where you come to examine the questions, search for your answers, challenge, be challenged and, ultimately, give birth to your own ideas.

It is for this reason that, having spent the past six years producing over 900 articles and interviewing more than 190 of the world’s best known experts, Danaylov has made his treasure trove of information available without charge.

He has a crowd funding campaign underway. Beyond Search readers can support his work at

I asked him what’s next for Singularity 1on1 and the Web log. He replied:

After doing 200 interviews I have learned that it is perhaps best to keep those secret until they are totally recorded, edited and ready for publishing. So you will have to subscribe to the Singularity 1on1 podcast to find out.

As part of my support for Danaylov’s information service, I noted this statement from Darian Wawer:

“There are probably only three things that have impacted my life to such an extent. Carl Sagan with his love for science, Elon Musk and his dedication to improving the quality of the world we live in and finally, the third person would be… Nikola Danaylov with his website Singularity Weblog. Obviously, there are a thousand people whose work I deeply appreciate (Kurzweil, Natasha-More, and so forth) but you are the hub that allows us to stay connected. You have also committed and sacrificed a lot to do so. You are the real deal.”

For more information about Danaylov’s impact, see

Stephen E Arnold, September 22, 2016

SEO Is a Dirty Web Trick

August 17, 2016

Search engine optimization is the bane of Web experts.  Why?  If you know how to use it you can increase your rankings in search engines and drive more traffic to your pages, but if you are a novice at SEO you are screwed.  Search Engine Land shares some bad SEO stories in “SEO Is As Dirty As Ever.”

SEO has a bad reputation in many people’s eyes, because it is viewed as a surreptitious way to increase traffic.  However, if used correctly SEO is not only a nifty trick, but is a good tool.  As with anything, however, it can go wrong.  One bad SEO practice is using outdated techniques like keyword stuffing, copying and pasting text, and hidden text.  Another common mistake is not having a noindex tag, blocking robots, JavaScript frameworks not being indexed.

Do not forget other shady techniques like the always famous shady sales, removing links, paid links, spam, link networks, removing links, building another Web site on a different domain, abusing review sites, and reusing content.  One thing to remember is that:

“It’s not just local or niche companies that are doing bad things; in fact, enterprise and large websites can get away with murder compared to smaller sites. This encourages some of the worst practices I’ve ever seen, and some of these companies do practically everything search engines tell them not to do.”

Ugh! The pot is identifying another pot and complaining about its color and cleanliness.


Whitney Grace, August 17, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden /Dark Web meet up on August 23, 2016.
Information is at this link:


Does It Matter Who Writes an Article? Probably Not

June 27, 2016

I read “Google Has Stopped Using Authorship Completely, Even for In-Depth Articles.” The write up points out that “authorship is officially and completely dead.” What an outstanding development, assuming, of course, that the article is spot on.

Google seems to be able to figure out who wrote something from the text alone. The innovation should put to rest the question about Shakespeare’s plays. Also, when anonymous information appears on a pastesite, the Alphabet Google thing will “know” who wrote the upload, right?

As wonderful as the world’s largest derivative of GoTo / Overture technology is, I am not 100 percent confident in the authorship function. I am reasonably certain that the Googler making the pronouncement was speaking to the search engine optimization crowd which believes many things in my experience.

For those in the law enforcement and intelligence business, perhaps the best way to determine Google’s capability in authorship is to probe the pastesite content. Wouldn’t that make clear what Google can and cannot do with “authorship.”

My best guess is that Google’s technology might fall short of the mark for some real world applications. For now, knowing who wrote what remains a semi useful factoid. By the way, who writes those Google patents? The named individuals or a flock of legal eagles? If authorship is irrelevant, why do some Google patent applications present the names of numerous Alphabet Google wizards?

Oh, right, I forgot that authorship only applies to marketing type content for the purpose of objective, on point results for the purpose of selling ads. Got it. Students will have to know who wrote “Foresight and Understanding: An Inquiry into the Aims of Science” or “Go Add Value Someplace Else: A Dilbert Book.”

Stephen E Arnold, June 27, 2016

Mastering SEO Is Mastering the Internet

May 5, 2016

Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is one of the prime tools Web site owners must master in order for their site to appear in search results.   A common predicament most site owners find themselves in is that they may have a fantastic page, but if a search engine has not crawled it, the site might as well not exist.  There are many aspects to mastering SEO and it can be daunting to attempt to make a site SEO friendly.  While there are many guides that explain SEO, we recommend Mattias Geniar’s “A Technical Guide To SEO.”

Some SEO guides get too much into technical jargon, but Geniar’s approach uses plain speak so even if you have the most novice SEO skills it will be helpful.  Here is how Geniar explains it:

“If you’re the owner or maintainer of a website, you know SEO matters. A lot. This guide is meant to be an accurate list of all technical aspects of search engine optimisation.  There’s a lot more to being “SEO friendly” than just the technical part. Content is, as always, still king. It doesn’t matter how technically OK your site is, if the content isn’t up to snuff, it won’t do you much good.”

Understanding the code behind SEO can be challenging, but thank goodness content remains the most important aspect part of being picked up by Web crawlers.  These tricks will only augment your content so it is picked up quicker and you will receive more hits on your site.


Whitney Grace, May 5, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Google Hummingbird Revealed by a Person Not Working for Google

April 7, 2016

Another wizard has scrutinized the Google and figured out how to make sure your site becomes number one with a bullet.

To get the wisdom, navigate to “Hummingbird – Mastering the art of Conversational Search.” The problem for the GOOG is that it costs a lot of money to index Web sites no one visits. Advertisers want traffic. That means the GOOG has to find a way to reduce costs and sell either more ads or fewer ads at a higher price.

The write up pays scant attention to the realities of the Google. But you will learn the tips necessary to work traffic magic. Okay, I don’t get too excited about info about Google from folks who are not working at the company or who have worked at the company. Sorry. Looking at the Google and reading tea leaves does not work for me.

But what works, according to the write up, are these sure fire tips. Here we go:

  1. Bone up on latent semantic indexing. Let’s see. That method has been around for 30, maybe 40 years. Get a move on, gentle reader.
  2. Make your Web site mobile friendly. Unfortunately mobile Web sites don’t get more traffic than a regular Web site which does not get much traffic. Sorry. The majority of clicks flow to a small percentage of the accessible Web sites.
  3. Forget the keyword thing. Well, I usually use words to write my articles and Web sites. I worry about focusing on a small number of topics and using the words necessary to get my point across. Keywords, in my opinion, are derivatives of information. Forgetting keywords is easy. I never used them before.
  4. Make your write ups accurate. Okay, that’s a start. What does one do with “real” news from certain sources. The info is baloney, but everyone pretends it is accurate. What’s up with that? The accuracy angle is part of Google’s scoring methods. Each has to deal with what’s correct in his or her own way. Footnotes and links are helpful. What happens when someone disagrees. Is this “accurate”? Oh, well.
  5. “Be bold and broad.” In my experience, not much content is bold and broad.

Now you understand Google Hummingbird. Will your mobile Web site generate hundreds of thousands of uniques if you adhere to this road map? Nah. Why not follow Google’s guidelines from the Google itself?

Stephen E Arnold, April 7, 2016

SEO Consultants Face Google Reality

March 27, 2016

The entire search engine optimization boomlet annoyed me. The idea that individuals could trick algorithms to displaying where it should not appear goes against my old fashioned notions of relevance, precision, and recall.

I blame lots of people for this destruction of on point search and retrieval. Consultants, vendors, the wonderful Google—yep, sorry. I want a search system to deliver information directly germane to my query. I don’t want search systems to think for me.

I read an amusing write up called “Google ch-ch-ch-changes. How They’re Affecting Publishers and SEOs.” The focus is not on the users’ needs for relevant information. Nah, the focus is on publishers and the members of the class SEO.

The write up bemoans the fact that Google no longer has a wizard to explain how to fool Google’s algorithms. That’s a positive in my opinion. Next the write up points out that Google wants to use even smarter algorithms to determine what is and is not relevant. Does Google’s notion of relevance match mine. Nah, I don’t care about advertising, but my hunch is that Google cares a great deal about money with relevance a consideration. But the goal is money.

The part of the article I liked was the section labeled “SEO Is Dead.” Good. The result was a surprise. The article points out that Facebook is a better place to get information. I highlighted in social scarlet this statement:

More and more, I go to Facebook for answers because I can no longer find them in Google. Google uses AI to throw me a kitchen sink when it is not sure, and that kitchen sink rarely has much in it that’s useful for me.

How does one find on point information from a Web search engine dependent on advertising? The write up dodges the question and suggests:

If you are using informational search, SEO hasn’t gotten harder — it has just become much more irrelevant. Whereas Google used to be very good at returning exact query results, AI goes with the “broad net” approach. If Google does not have a specific “thing” it can return, it will often return a set of more general results, leaving words out of the query set. Often, the word it leaves out is the most relevant modifier.

Sound like baloney?

Stephen E Arnold, March 27, 2016

PageRank to Blame for the Lousy Web? Nope

March 14, 2016

I read “RIP Google PageRank Score: A Retrospective on How It Ruined the Web.” You can work through the romp yourself. I want to highlight one very, small, almost insignificant point. The death of the relevant Web was a direct consequence of several factors. PageRank was little more than a more usable version of what AltaVista and Jon Kleinberg developed. Here are these very small issues:

  1. Those responsible for Web sites wanted traffic. The shortest route was finding ways to fool Mother Google.
  2. Conference organizers and other whiz kid marketers crafted search engine optimization as a business.

Put one and two together and we have the findability problem. Google is not the cause. Google provided a escalator. Humans seeking traffic rode it until the escalator stopped working.

So walk up to the nifty new systems and see if you can get precise, on point, objective results. Those pesky humans have invented content spam.

Stephen E Arnold, March 14, 2016

Semantic Search: Yep, Everything You Need to Know about Semantic Search. Everything!

February 10, 2016

I love universals like “All men are mortal.” The problem is that there are not too many which click with me. I noted the write up “Everything You Need to Know about Semantic Search and What It Means for Your Website.” Very personal headline. I thought of my grandmother saying, “You should eat your spinach.” Yeah, right.

This write up is a search engine optimization take on “everything” about semantic search. Sure, there are some omissions, no code snippets, no examples of how to overcome computational bottlenecks, etc. But, hey, why quibble. This is 2016 and everything does not mean the “All men are mortal” reasoning. We are after clicks. We want sales leads. We want to be a maven.

The write up defines, illustrates with Google queries (getting smarter everyday, just maybe not with relevant results), dives into “ontology” with a diagram, gives a revisionistic glimpse of the history of semantic search, dips into the categorical affirmative barrel in “What Are All The Factors That Search Engines Use To Perform The Search?”, and offers an explanation of why semantic search is just better than old fashioned precision and recall. Oh, yeah. There is even a section which includes a superlative and this injunction:

Create high quality content.

Yep, eat your kale. Now.

If you want to become really good at semantic search, you may find that other information will be required. But, hey, this is 2016. Good enough is excellence. Close enough for SEO horse shoes is the name of the game.

Stephen E Arnold, February 10, 2016

Desperate for Traffic: Black Hat SEO Appears Quite Tasty

January 29, 2016

I read an interesting article. The title? “Are There Any Black Hat SEO Strategies That Work?” For years I have pointed out that if you want traffic, you need to buy Adwords. If the budget for an Adword campaign is too much for your pocketbook, you have to be pragmatic. Short cuts will land you in Google’s version of purgatory. If you have not been there, check out Dante.

The write up says:

Black hat tactics are ones that use deception, manipulation, and gimmicks to trick search engines into ranking a site higher than it otherwise would rank.

That sounds like a good description of most search engine optimization methods. Google does not care so webmasters try to fool Mother Google.

The write up sort of agrees with me. I noted this comment:

White hat tactics can be technically manipulative, since we’re taking specific actions with the goal of trying to rank higher in organic search…

The author then reviews some well known methods for getting an invitation to digital purgatory.

I came away from the write up with a sense that folks are desperate for traffic. Google buys traffic from Apple. You can buy traffic from Google. This seems pretty basic to me.

SEO is a game of diminishing returns. Even raising the notion of black hat methods only makes the white hat methods show their true color: Black. What’s on the head of the SEO maven? A black Barcelona ball cap. Black hat. Get it?

Stephen E Arnold, January 29, 2016

Ah, Ha. Search May Be Dying

January 18, 2016

I did not know that. I am delighted to have wisdom available from a blog focusing on search engine optimization.

Dear, old search. Are you really dying? I thought you had pulled off one of the Carlos Castaneda transmogrifications into augmented intelligence, customer support services, analytics, and my favorite Big Data. If Vivisimo can pull this off at IBM, almost any company with information access capabilities can wake up as a metasearch company and go to bed as a Big Data champ with the four Vs dancing in one’s dreams.

The write up points out:

Recent years have revealed a worrisome trend (for Google anyway) — search engine use overall has declined from 90 percent in 2009 to 86 percent in 2014. This might not seem like much of a downward trend, but if you consider that overall global Internet use has increased by 67 percent in the same period, that’s a lot of Internet users who aren’t turning to search.

The article represents this wonderful Pew Research chart:


But the section which tickled my Alphabet Google fancy was this passage:

There’s no denying that Google is the most complex searchable database on the Internet. It offers billions of results and is constantly innovating new ways to determine your search needs. However it would seem that Google’s impressive scope is the very thing that is sending people to apps and other websites to find the information they need. People want results that are personalized for them, while Google is busy trying to be everything for everyone. There are simply too many relevant results in Google’s database to match the personalization capabilities of apps and websites. That’s why apps are increasingly being used as research channels, especially among teens, who are 30 percent more likely to use them for search.

The inescapable conclusion seems to be that search is a goner.

I don’t agree, but that’s not germane to the SEO mavens who stand ready to serve customers eager for clicks, app downloads, and lots of SEO goodness.

At least the Mirror comes at the Alphabet Google thing with a bit of creativity. See, for example, “Google Slammed over Refusal to Advertise Plus Size Fashion to Curvy Consumers.” Now that’s real hard hitting evidence for the argument that search is on a down ward trajectory.

Stephen E Arnold, January 18, 2016

Stephen E Arnold

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