Knowledge-based Trust?

Essays > Science, IT, Nature

The internet is abuzz with news that Google wants to change the way it ranks website pages in its search engine.

One of Google’s research arms is studying the possibility of ranking websites according to their factual accuracy and has already published a paper. Should this ranking come to pass, it would mean that Google would become a self-appointed global sentry deciding on data and text of approximately 1,2 billion websites (number online at the time of writing). This step seems on par with the consequences of the nanny state the USA has morphed into during the last decade.

Google Website ranking

Google already is the keeper of a ‘knowledge vault’ that hoardes ‘commonly believed facts’. The word ‘belief’ already makes me shudder and wonder who the people are who have taken it upon them to decide what is true and what is false? Or is that decided by a computer who just compares algorithms at random?

Any nonconformist writings of which there are surely hundreds of thousands won’t be easily found anymore and again, time-wise, George Orwell’s vision of 1984 was just a few decades off .

Pierre L. Gosselin writes on March 7, 2015 in NoTricksZone:

“Though the system may have some merits, it is chock-full of pitfalls and it risks the establishment of an information dictatorship – a so-called Orwellian Ministry Of Truth. In other countries such information control programs are the sort of things one associates with tyrannies and dictatorships, like Iran, North Korea, Red China, Russia, Venezuela or Islamic fundamentalist states. Note in all these states, leaders are convinced it’s for the overall good of the people.

“That is very troubling,” writes Jim Lakely, Director of Communications of the Chicago-based think-tank The Heartland Institute in an e-mail. He thinks there is no doubt that the ‘facts’ of politicized sites who clearly have a defined agenda will get favorable treatment in Google’s ‘knowledge vault’ while dissident sites will be locked out.”

And what will anybody be able to do about this concerted effort? As Gosselin concludes, “The power to determine the truth belongs to the people, and not to Google.”

Read more at NoTricksZone

Bhagawati

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