Sydney Morning Herald: Google search ranking boss warns against algorithm oversight

Sydney Morning Herald: Google search ranking boss warns against algorithm oversight. “Search giant Google has warned that the Australian competition watchdog’s proposal for a regulator to oversee its algorithm could increase risks from spammers. One of the Google’s top executives, vice-president of search Pandu Nayak, said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s proposal to impose oversight on the way search engines rank information and news articles through a review authority could invite trouble.”

KSEN: MSU Researchers Receive Grant To Build ‘Algorithmic Awareness’ As Form Of Digital Literacy

KSEN: MSU Researchers Receive Grant To Build ‘Algorithmic Awareness’ As Form Of Digital Literacy. “To help increase awareness of algorithms, the [Montana State University] Library received a $50,000 grant for ‘Unpacking the Algorithms That Shape our User Experience.’ The project includes three main parts, all with a goal of introducing “algorithmic awareness” as a form of digital literacy: researching algorithms and writing a report for users, developing a teaching tool in order to give transparency to common algorithms, and creating a curriculum and pilot class. “

Ars Technica: Yes, “algorithms” can be biased. Here’s why

Ars Technica: Yes, “algorithms” can be biased. Here’s why. “Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently stated that facial recognition ‘algorithms’ (and by extension all ‘algorithms’) ‘always have these racial inequities that get translated’ and that ‘those algorithms are still pegged to basic human assumptions. They’re just automated assumptions. And if you don’t fix the bias, then you are just automating the bias.’ She was mocked for this claim on the grounds that ‘algorithms’ are ‘driven by math’ and thus can’t be biased—but she’s basically right. Let’s take a look at why.”

New York Times Magazine: How Secrecy Fuels Facebook Paranoia

New York Times Magazine: How Secrecy Fuels Facebook Paranoia. “The biggest internet platforms are businesses built on asymmetric information. They know far more about their advertising, labor and commerce marketplaces than do any of the parties participating in them. We can guess, but can’t know, why we were shown a friend’s Facebook post about a divorce, instead of another’s about a child’s birth. We can theorize, but won’t be told, why YouTube thinks we want to see a right-wing polemic about Islam in Europe after watching a video about travel destinations in France. Everything that takes place within the platform kingdoms is enabled by systems we’re told must be kept private in order to function. We’re living in worlds governed by trade secrets. No wonder they’re making us all paranoid.”

Harvard Business Review: Why We Need to Audit Algorithms

Harvard Business Review: Why We Need to Audit Algorithms . “Algorithmic decision-making and artificial intelligence (AI) hold enormous potential and are likely to be economic blockbusters, but we worry that the hype has led many people to overlook the serious problems of introducing algorithms into business and society. Indeed, we see many succumbing to what Microsoft’s Kate Crawford calls “data fundamentalism” — the notion that massive datasets are repositories that yield reliable and objective truths, if only we can extract them using machine learning tools. A more nuanced view is needed. It is by now abundantly clear that, left unchecked, AI algorithms embedded in digital and social technologies can encode societal biases, accelerate the spread of rumors and disinformation, amplify echo chambers of public opinion, hijack our attention, and even impair our mental wellbeing.”

USA Today: Google employees discussed changing search results after Trump travel ban

USA Today: Google employees discussed changing search results after Trump travel ban. “Google employees debated ways to alter search results to direct users to pro-immigration organizations and to contact lawmakers and government agencies after President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.”

Techdirt: There’s A Reason That Misleading Claims Of Bias In Search And Social Media Enjoy Such Traction

Techdirt: There’s A Reason That Misleading Claims Of Bias In Search And Social Media Enjoy Such Traction. “President Trump’s tweets charging that Google search results are biased, against him and against conservatives, are the loudest and latest version of a growing attack on search engines and social media platforms. It is potent, and it’s almost certainly wrong. But it comes at an unfortunate time, just as a more thoughtful and substantive challenge to the impact of Silicon Valley tech companies has finally begun to emerge. If someone were truly concerned about free speech, news, and how platforms subtly reshape public participation, they would be engaging these deeper questions. But these simplistic and ill-informed claims of deliberate political bias are the wrong questions, and they risk undermining and crowding out the right ones. Trump’s charges against Google, Twitter, and Facebook reveal a basic misunderstanding of how search and social media work, and they continue to confuse “fake news” with bad news, all in the service of scoring political points. However, even if these companies are not responsible for silencing conservative speech, they may be partly responsible for allowing this charge to gain purchase, by being so secretive for so long about how their algorithms and moderation policies work.”