Monday, 6 March 2006

A Google queer match

Mindful Computers
I cannot count the number of times some staff in all sorts of outfits have blamed the computer for some problem or unexpected result.
This is all the more interesting with a case in court in the UK where the libel laws are being tested on the premise of deduction rather than named aggrieved ones.
The papers had published a sensational story about the sexuality of certain footballers and some lurid sexual activity that might have happened between males who have long-standing female partners.
It transpired that there were enough clues and hints in those stories that Miss Marple would have rather busied herself with more productive knitting.
Now, I had no clue of who these persons might be till the case came to court and the arguments have started.
The new advent of computational linguistics
Anyways, I do remember years ago, just about the turn of the century reading that universities were losing personnel with PhDs in Linguistics to search engine companies.
This was important because searches had to move on from rudimentary content delivery to context analysis. You want to be able to put in a search pattern and be presented with results of relevance, importance and contemporary value.
I probably use Google more than I use any other search engine and I have been through Yahoo, Altavista, YaGooHooGle and even Dogpile. Wikipedia probably sees a good deal of my traffic too.
Automatically generated
Now, Google has to explain in court how searching for Ashley Cole offers results that allow you to see also “Ashley Cole gay”.
The technology behind the Google search engine is said to be one of the best money can buy and this might be due to the technical excellence of the software, managerial decisions and/or the codifying into computational logic the thinking of those linguistic gurus.
“A spokeswoman for Google said the alternative search terms were generated automatically.” Exactly! [1]
Reference

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