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Anti-science advocates are freaking out about Google truth rankings - Salon.com


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I've got mixed feelings on this.  The internet desperately needs a peer review layer, because as I've painfully learned in my campaign work misinformation spreads faster than information.  However, should a bot be our peer in that layer?  I'm not sure.  However, I will say, I think anything that looks to tackle the issue of woefully uninformed/misinformed citizens in the world is a step in the right direction.

I don't like the idea of the bot being the decider because I see how often Google's bots get things wrong and there's no court of appeals.

Example: we've been trying to get a spam blog copy of PandaWhale de-indexed for months, and none of our reporting and requests have led to action.

Google has to be careful or more people will stop using Google.

It's a tricky situation.  I supposed I'd rather have *some* sort of truthiness review layer on the internet, but the questions in my mind:1) Will it even matter?  If someone is convinced that vaccines are awful already, that confirmation bias has already been strong enough to beat down all the science and evidence to the contrary.  Perhaps it will prevent a percentage of would-be-anti-vaxxers from going down that stupendously idiotic route in the future?  Tough to say.2) The problem with a bot as a truth guardian is, as you say Adam, it's not very easy to change the mind of a bot from Google.  The problem with a human as the truth guardian is that humans are idiots, as evidenced by anti-vaxxers for one example.  So what should that "peer" in "peer review layer" be? 

Groups of humans work well for things like academic papers. That model is hard to scale and maintain.

Groups of humans work less well for crowdsourced sites like Reddit and Stack Overflow, where popularity sometimes trumps worthiness of content.

So the best they can do right now is a hybrid that takes into account expert opinions and crowdsourced opinions.

At least until their artificial intelligence is more able to replicate the experts and the crowds.

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