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06/08/2005: "This blew my mind!"

Ironically, someone sent me this 8 minute fake documentary set in 2014 on what happens when Google and Amazon merge and largely take over the info world. If you've been following current trends in "social software" and commercial customization, you'll see immediately how this could happen. Maybe it's the librarian in me, but it made me tear up a little!

I should go on to mention that I love all of the sites/services mentioned in it. Google, Amazon, Friendster, Blogger, Gmail, TIVO, I use em all, that's what got to me I think...

I started writing this academic paper awhile ago about what would happen if a single information filter gained dominance ala "ask dr. know" from the movie AI. I was reading up on a lot of artificial intelligence research where programs try to intuit what your question is, and answer it rather than just listing websites. This was 3 years ago. Google does this to a certain extent now (type in keywords like "population of Tokyo" or "cups to ounces").

With "Ask Dr. Know", they manipulated the answers to lead him where he could be caught. Information is power.

Replies: 3 Comments

on Thursday, June 9th, greg said

If you wish to find out what I think on this subject, please deposit $10US into my Paypal account.

Once all books are banned then I can raise the price of my opinion, but even then, for National Security reasons, I can only offer what the governmental voices in my head allow me to. Again, its all for our own good. ;)

on Thursday, June 9th, holly said

Very interesting, and not impossible, I think, but the presumptions made in this little clip are flawed. First of all, if I remember correctly from library school, there are always problems with algorithms that have thus far prevented anyone from developing the infallible search engine. Google comes damn close, but it seems to me that the smarter Google tries to be, the less accurate it is. And the recommendation feature ussed at Amazon is a joke because it can only suggest items in what its algorithm perceives to be the same category as another item the consumer has bought or browsed. But it can't determine the objective behind the purchase or perusal. I've purchased books on the history of the Roman mass through Amazon to prepare for my comps in medieval art history, but you should see some of the crazy holy roller crap Amazon recommends to me (in addition to inexplicable Teletubby merch. Go figure).

As far as the news being reduced to a bunch of worthless trivia that is tailored to a particular person, aren't we there already? Ever look at an international story on MSNBC or some other dumbed-down U.S. news source and then had a look at the same story on the International Herald Tribune or The Scotsman? We are already in the world of selective and semi-factual journalism and people do read the version that suits their personal beliefs and is easliy digestable and then propogate the story further via email and blogs. We are there already and what scares me is the sheer number of people who are thick enough to take a source like Fox News at face value and assume this is Thee Truth. The current mainstream media has done an excellent job of numbing and dumbing.

Fortunately, intelligent people will continue to look for reputable sources and different points of view. This is where you come in, Elise, because people who really want to know and learn know to ask a librarian or some other info specialist. We used to have the big debate in class about whether or not librarians would become obsolete, and I believed then as I do now that librarians will never become obsolete as long as they change their methodology and strategies in tandem with the format of information. Technology isn't the enemy here, ignorance is- same as it ever was.

(I have to admit that I'm a little seduced by the Googlegrid. But Googlezon is a silly name and will never happen. So says I.)

on Thursday, June 9th, Elise said

About Amazon, I bought these books for a gay male friend once for christmas and after that, you should have seen the list of suggestions I got!

I kind of had the same thought though, about how we aren't far off right now with network's a business and people are fed what they want to hear.

And Google ads already pay bloggers based on their traffic too, and if that's the wave of the future...

I admit I am a techno junkie, but I do have the librarian side sayin "oh no you dinit!"

And greg, have you read PayPal's privacy disclosure??? It ain't pretty.