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I'll go with some of that, but two things:
1. The general arguments that 'free enterprise
are free or responsibility' are made for many companies
that provide services to the public. Utilities are
a good example and the Enron fraud against the California
power consumers are an example of deregulation run amok.
Not only did they rob them, they laughed about it. So
if these guys go to jail, let them be imprisoned in
Southern California where the effects of a planned
brown out on the AC units is fully felt. Regulations
are just standards with legal teeth. Conformance
testing is the step just this side of regulations.
2. The example of Google was provided to show just
how quickly biases propagate. Their effects are
devastating if they are in a services chain marked:
authoritative and applied to information vital to
a vital process. The Golem problem is not simply
power, but power coupled to authority: how choices
As mentioned, there is a feedback mechanism and
those who write to Google to express their opinion
can use it. As Microsoft has discovered belatedly,
with near monopolistic position comes responsibilities
and the rules change. One can show positive awareness of that
position and act responsibly, or experience the force
of the judicial system if the feedback is forced to
route to those resources.
Considering the (re)source is the first responsibility,
but let us consider how the semantic web technologies
can help us do precisely that. ;-)
My point is that we should "work the problem" as
the father of Richard and Robert Ballard taught them.
Yes, they are brothers: Dick does KR. We know what Bob
does. Whether inventing KR systems or trolling the
Titanic, it is awareness of how technical innovation
and social responsibility are related that distinguishes
great men and women of the world from the merely
My point is, the Golem problem is real and we have
to work the problem. Otherwise, we are not ready
and should not field a Semantic Web for machine to
machine communication. The 'choice of choices' is
too important to not 'work the problem'.
From: Joshua Allen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Here's a pretty good example of how it all goes wrong
> even when humans are making the selections:
Well, it's certainly a source of consternation for people who want
clear, unambiguous guidelines.
But I think it's a bit histrionic to say "chilling effect on free
speech". Adwords are already an exclusive club, by virtue of costing
money. And Google is a private enterprise, with no obligation to
present "fair and balanced" at all. They aren't bound by 1st amendment
(the same goes for newspapers). They could run "all conservative all
the time", if they wanted. "Perrspectives" is not automatically
*entitled* to a place in Google adwords, and they should be grateful to
Google for even creating such a venue and giving them a berth.
I also think the focus on adwords misses the point. The search engine
itself does not discriminate against sites like the "perrspectives".
The mere existence of Google makes the unique voice of "perrspectives"
immensely more accessible and discoverable than it would have been
without Google. That fact alone should negate any silly "free speech"
complaints, since Google has been a fantastic enabler of "free speech",
particularly for fringe or relatively unknown sites like this.
Second is that Google is so engaged in the editorial process when
complaints come up, and apparently is trying to do the right thing.
Anyone who has ever written to newspaper ombudsman to get no response,
should feel encouraged that Google in this case responded to even a
small, relatively insignificant site like this with such genuine
It always annoys me when people try to imply 1st amendment to places it
clearly doesn't apply. The whole thing seems a bit absurd, since
"perrspectives" would fiercely defend their own right to carry a biased
view and shut out voices that it deems too "conservative". When a
newspaper with such overt bias is jumping up and down complaining about
their inability to get space in a private venue which *does* attempt to
be fair and balanced, I have little sympathy. Pot calling the kettle
black and all of that...
Having said that, I agree that the general issue is important with any
public KR database. I personally think it's an issue if "consider the
source", and should be standard for any thinking adult. If anyone
believes that their sources of information *today* are unbiased, they
need to correct their own expectations, rather than project those
expectations onto the semantic web.