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I heard about this book on NPR a couple of weeks ago [1]. I really don't like this biased view of ML.

In summary what he said on the show was something like: At least the news shows (and news pappers, radio) gives the same information to everyone, so instead of showing Kardashians news they do show you Bin Laden news, even though, they know the Kardashians are more profitable... this is not the case with Google Search or Netflix, Yahoo, Bing, etc (all attacked by this author).

I think that ML helps more than it hurts and viewing it in a non-technical way is wrong, the author gives the impression that Google (the company and their execs) manually (via algorithms, but very manageable in his opinion) change the search results to not show things that they don't like, then it raises the question "do we really trust one company?".

Its arguable that the search results in Google or Netflix are optimized for profits, but how do you make profits in the customer industry? IMHO you do that by making their happier, showing useful results, for them, not for everyone.

I'm waiting for the time when I google: "what channel and time is Conan on" [2] and I get "channel 43 11pm" as the result. Of course that is very personalized, and the result will be just for me... but again I'm the one searching and I'm the one needing the results.

[1] http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-05-17/eli-pariser-fil...

[2] At the moment I get this 1st result: http://articles.boston.com/2010-11-10/ae/29330376_1_conan-an... which is not what I searched for nor wanted...

I think there's reason to complain that the reality is far from the ideal. Take Netflix, for example. I rated hundreds of movies, filled out the taste preferences to narrow down the genres I was most interested in, but the "Suggestions for You" were underwhelming, to say the least. Even worse, they simply never changed. So I went back into my taste preferences and checked that I "Often" watched every single mood and genre listed. Now I get a vastly improved range of suggestions, exposing me to some great movies, simply because Netflix is no longer hiding them from my view. I may have a unique individual taste for movies, but Netflix sure hasn't fathomed my criteria with their algorithm.


Exactly! it's just nonsense peddled by those who don't understand the technical aspects of search, people who don't realize that a search engine's prime function is to filter the millions of results for each query to down to the most relevant results for the users, and not the same 10 results are relevant to each and every user.

And user regardless of nay personalization can dig through any initial results.

It's just annoying an ignorant bullshit being disguised as a real issue.


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