Monday, February 25, 2013

Question the algorithm

  This breathtaking post from Musing of an Aspie for the Autistic People Should... flash blog inspired a lot of deep thought in myself and others.  It quite frankly inspired me to contribute to the blog when I was not sure it was my place to.
   Deceivingly Normal observed that the phenomenon of extremely negative automatic suggestions with Google was not limited to Autism, but seems to occur with any group of people you type in there (Whites too).  I am not posting screenshots, but the results are consistent, feel free to try for yourself.  Google search suggests that we all get our acts together or be purged.
   Google is a business. Its business is dominating social media, and business is good.  Hell, Google owns the service I am making this blog on.  Are we to believe that the internet is dominated by trolls searching for ways to insult, marginalize and even kill every ethnic group they are not a member of, and that is why these auto completes return such shocking results?
   Or perhaps, some racist/sexist/ableist trolls sparked a match, and Google drove up next to the match with a full tanker of unleaded gasoline.

Sensationalism sells  

Death sells

Controversy sells

  "Autistic people should get hugs" will not generate as much attention as "Autistic people should be exterminated".  We question the experts, we question the haters, we question the stereotypes.  It is time to question the machine feeding them.  I argue that the algorithm Google and other search engines use searches for and feeds negative buzzwords into autocomplete in order to generate hits.  And while generating hits and revenue, it also feeds the hatred and bigotry that Autistics, and every minority has to put up with, because hatred sells.   

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