Tag Archives: google

Data voids and search engines

An interesting Nature editorial reporting a recent study

A study in Nature last month highlights a previously underappreciated aspect of this phenomenon: the existence of data voids, information spaces that lack evidence, into which people searching to check the accuracy of controversial topics can easily fall…
Clearly, copying terms from inaccurate news stories into a search engine reinforces misinformation, making it a poor method for verifying accuracy…
Google does not manually remove content, or de-rank a search result; nor does it moderate or edit content, in the way that social-media sites and publishers do.

So what could be done?

There’s also a body of literature on improving media literacy — including suggestions on more, or better education on discriminating between different sources in search results.

Sure increasing media literacy at the consumer site would be helpful. But letting Google earn all that money without any further curation efforts? The original study found

Here, across five experiments, we present consistent evidence that online search to evaluate the truthfulness of false news articles actually increases the probability of believing them.

So why not putting out red flags? Or de-rank search results?

fake screen shot


How to regulate ChatGPT use

With the even increasing use of ChatGPT there is also a debate not only on responsibility but also crediting findings to individual authors.

The artificial-intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT that has taken the world by storm has made its formal debut in the scientific literature — racking up at least four authorship credits on published papers and preprints.  Journal editors, researchers and publishers are now debating the place of such AI tools in the published literature, and whether it’s appropriate to cite the bot as an author.

Software recognition of AI generated text is not 100% accurate in particular if there are less than 1000 characters available. And of course, scientific texts will be always edited to evade the classifier.

Having discussed here this issue yesterday, we think that we need some kind of software regulation – sending the generated AI output not only to the individual user but keeping a  full logfile of the output that can be accessed, indexed and searched by everybody.




False dichotomies

“The false dichotomy between private interest and public good” by https://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/blog

‘Good’ and ‘public benefit’ are subjective concepts and will vary according to individual perceptions and context. Private and public interest are inevitably intertwined and pitting them against each other creates a false dichotomy. For example, if patients cease to trust their clinicians or more broadly the NHS, public good will suffer. Furthermore, extensive exploration of public attitudes towards sharing medical data has found that people approve in general for their data to be used for medical research and for ‘good causes’, whether environmental, social or medical, but they do not approve of their data to be used for commercial purposes or for powerful companies to profit at society’s expense.

Safe harbor for your private data

With the new European ruling of Safe Harbor, I anticipate that all major US companies will just give you an extra click to accept their updated licenses. And everything will remain the same…




But there is a true option:  Set up your own cloud. “owncloud” (OC) is a mature product and  is able to replace Dropbox with native OS X, Windows, iOS, Android and web clients.

Using just four plugins OC can WebDav sync also Files, Calendars, Todos, Contacts and RSS feeds – goodbye iCloud, goodbye Google, goodbye Dropbox, goodbye Feedly and goodbye Doodle. Continue reading Safe harbor for your private data

Something you cannot google

Most people think that you can google for everything you want to know. What an overestimate!! There are so many relationships that will probably never turn out in any graph search ( at least I believe so ). And here is a nice example as I recently heard of a patient with an allergy AGAINST dimethindene maleate ( Fenistil (R), an antihistmaine used TO TREAT allergy. So whenever you enter “fenistil allergy” you get 119.000 hits. Although you get that result in 0,23s it will take you 23y to wade through the results. Hint: You could google for “leroy dimethindene” and you will find that there are only 2 patients so far in the literature plus the one that I know.


I have no idea how 23andme got its name but the business model of this company seems to rely on a rather haploid view of the world.
I had the pleasure this weekend to listen to a talk by Joanna Mountain(senior research director at 23andMe, the company that was founded by Googles Sergey Brin‘ s wife Anne Wojcicki). For whatever reasons Brin Continue reading 46andyou