[iDC] misogynist search engines?

Andreas Schiffler aschiffler at ferzkopp.net
Wed May 9 16:54:11 EDT 2007

Sullivan wrote:
> So, the question again is about why this algorithm is generating these
> particular results, who designed this algorithm, in what social context?
> does this mean something about the possibilities for seemingly neutral
> software to encode distinct cultural biases?
Well there is certainly a gender bias in the development team that 
created the search bot initially: two guys.

Google tends to recruit much of their coding talent from the FLOSS 
arena: alpha-male boy's club.

There is also evidence and surveys that indicate a preference for C and 
C++ languages in men, both likely used for programming parts of the 
ranking algorithm for efficiency and speed reasons.

But even if we assume a "neutral" algorithm, it still operates on real 
world data ... which is biased since the days of the Bible when Moses 
dropped 2 of the 12 commandments. So no surprises here. Just another 
form of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb effect.

The issue I have with validating Google as an interesting "microscope" 
on social research, is that it is scientifically worthless in most cases 
- irrespective of who made it - since it is a black box algorithm and 
nobody knows how it actually works.


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