Last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in the United States. Ostensibly, one of the main reasons Pichai was asked to attend was in order to answer questions about security issues with various platforms operated by Google. But as you'd expect, the hearing turned into a comedy writer's dream with enough fodder to fill late night monologues for countless presenters. But buried in the dross was a very important question about the trustworthiness of algorithms.
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Tumblr announced today that all adult content would be banned starting from December 17th, a move that has caused many of the site's users to declare its imminent death. The move comes after the Tumblr app was removed from the iOS app store over child pornography concerns, but aside from being frustratingly arbitrary, the site's filtering technology seems to have no idea what adult content actually looks like in a Tumblr post.
Big data gets a lot of attention from media, industry and government. Companies and labs generate massive amounts of data associated with everything from weather to cell phone usage to medical records, and each data set may involve hundreds of variables. How does one begin to make sense of it all? The answer lies in "rubber sheet" geometry.
The November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine is the magazine's best selling issue of all time. This is not because of the articles, but due to the proliferation of one iconic image from the magazine: that of centrefold model Lena Söderberg.
The world is certainly not short of pundits claiming to have a grasp on where the economy is heading or what the future holds for Ukraine. But history reminds us how poor humans are at making predictions in complex situations. Could a fully automated algorithm beat the predictions of these pundits? Not yet. But history also has a way of vindicating the power of algorithms over human judgement.