Google Truth Algorithm: Users are Part of the Problem

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Google’s efforts to filter out positions which they think are fake news, like climate skeptic posts, have hit an unexpected snag: Google have just noticed large groups of people across the world hold views which differ from the views championed by the Silicon Valley monoculture.

Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt: It can be ‘very difficult’ for Google’s search algorithm to understand truth

Catherine Clifford
2:38 PM ET Tue, 21 Nov 2017

In the United States’ current polarized political environment, the constant publishing of articles with vehemently opposing arguments has made it almost impossible for Google to rank information properly.

So says billionaire Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday.

“Let’s say that this group believes Fact A and this group believes Fact B and you passionately disagree with each other and you are all publishing and writing about it and so forth and so on. It is very difficult for us to understand truth,” says Schmidt, referring to the search engine’s algorithmic capabilities.

“So when it gets to a contest of Group A versus Group B — you can imagine what I am talking about — it is difficult for us to sort out which rank, A or B, is higher,” Schmidt says.

In cases of greater consensus, when the search turns up a piece of incorrect or unreliable information, it is a problem that Google should be able to address by tweaking the algorithm, he says.

The problem comes when diametrically opposed viewpoints abound — the Google algorithm can not identify which is misinformation and which is truth.

That’s the rub for the tech giant. “Now, there is a line we can’t really get across,” says Schmidt.

However, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a different issue, sometimes referred to as the “Facebook bubble” or as an echo chamber. Because those companies’ algorithms rely, at least in part, on things like “friends” and followers to determine what’s displayed in their news feeds, the users are part of the problem.

“That is a core problem of humans that they tend to learn from each other and their friends are like them. And so until we decide collectively that occasionally somebody not like you should be inserted into your database, which is sort of a social values thing, I think we are going to have this problem,” the Alphabet boss says.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/21/alphabets-eric-schmidt-why-google-can-have-trouble-ranking-truth.html

As a climate skeptic and IT expert I’m finding this Google difficulty highly entertaining.

What people like Google’s Schmidt desperately want to discover is a generalised way of detecting fake news. They believe in their hearts that climate skepticism for example is as nutty as thinking the moon landings were faked, but they have so far failed to find a common marker which allows their personal prejudices to be confirmed as objective reality.

Google could and likely does simply impose their prejudices, explicitly demoting climate skeptic articles and specific websites to the bottom of their list – but they feel guilty about doing this, because they know imposing their personal views on the search algorithm is cheating. Explicitly imposing personal prejudices on their search ranking algorithm forces Google to admit to themselves that those views are prejudices. It bothers them that they have not yet discovered a way to objectively justify those prejudices by applying a generalised filter to their underlying data.

To put it another way, in the case of climate skepticism I suspect Google’s problem is they have discovered there are lots of published mainstream peer reviewed papers which support climate skeptic positions. This is likely messing up their efforts to classify climate skepticism as not being part of mainstream science.

The mounting evidence US tech giants are refusing to accept is that their Silicon Valley monoculture might be wrong about a few issues. They will likely continue to burn millions of dollars worth of software developer time chasing unicorns, because as long as they can convince themselves they are working on a solution, they don’t have to admit to themselves that they might have made a mistake.

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274 thoughts on “Google Truth Algorithm: Users are Part of the Problem

    • Yeah, what about that, didn’t they used to say that they will do no evil? When did they turn to the dark side?

      PMK

      • When they (and fellow travelers including Yahoo) discovered they have enough of a monopoly to stamp out the formerly free and open Internet. If they keep getting their way, pretty soon sites like this one will no longer be able to find hosting or domain-name services.

        All we can do is to resist any further mergers among the communications multinationals, and support any alternatives to them that do still manage to appear.

      • <i<“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

        ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

    • No, just uneducated.

      They may spent a lot time in school, but apparently, school didn’t equip them with any understanding of the world they live in.

      Critical thinking is,,, critical.
      You aren’t educated, if you are lacking in this skill.

      If they had this skill and ignore it, then they are evil

      • http://newbostonpost.com/2017/11/09/undoing-the-dis-education-of-millennials/

        Well worth a read for a description of the problem from a law prof. speech to his new students. In part follows:
        “Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking.”
        “Reasoning requires you to understand the difference between true and false. And reasoning requires coherence and logic. Most of you have been taught to embrace incoherence and illogic. You have learned to associate truth with your subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only yours, and which are constantly changeful.
        We will have to pull out all of the weeds in your mind as we come across them. Unfortunately, your mind is full of weeds, and this will be a very painful experience. But it is strictly necessary if anything useful, good, and fruitful is to be planted in your head.”
        “If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.”

      • BFL,
        Oh how it hurts my head whenever I hear someone say, “I feel like” instead of “I think”. It is a major problem, especially with the millennials.

      • Then there is this gem of a suggestion

        “That is a core problem of humans that they tend to learn from each other and their friends are like them. And so until we decide collectively that occasionally somebody not like you should be inserted into your database, which is sort of a social values thing, I think we are going to have this problem,” the Alphabet boss says.

        The guy is actually suggesting assigning “AGW Facebook Friends” to anyone that appears to hold skeptical ideals so their walls get cluttered with acceptable information. That sounds like the beginning of Dystopia

      • In the days of USSR, many military units had political officers assigned to them. Very similar to the way the Germany’s Gestapo embedded SS officers into all command staff levels of German Army, Navy, and Luftwaffe units. It is a way to ensure loyalty and silence any dissent.

        Just think of your new FB friend as Big Brother and all will be okay.

      • “Sure, “google evil” came up with 34 mill. hits :-)”

        “Unicorn Farts” returned 600,000
        “20 feet of sea level rise returned” 17 mil
        “Kardashian” returned 195 mil

      • when someone (and there is a someone) claims “do no evil” you need to ask why would someone say that. a moral person would not feel the need or inclination to state something as obvious in civil society. so this is what that someone who came up with that slogan had rattling around in his or her mind.

        this someone thinks evil all day every day!

      • There’s a third possibility……indeterminate. There are things that we don’t know whether they are true or false. For example, if there is intelligent life outside our galaxy.

      • …Facts, by definition, are true, but a fact is not the entire truth….

        One person’s fact is another’s lie. Consider all the facts you used to believe in which turned out not to be true….

      • Something might be true, untrue, or anything else. Have you stopped beating your wife, true or false? This statement is classified as untrue.

        But back to the topic. I think comrade Worrall is right here, Google has been working on fake news detection and found out they’d seriously hit groups they don’t want to hit. The only way around would be hand work, which they don’t like because they operate in many countries, and many of those coutries have very different official truths. They’d end up being the Big Brother in 1984 deciding on what is publishable in that culture.

        People from the US have been complaining on how certain climate skeptic, not mentioning some denialistic blogs have been cleaned away from the search results. It has been interesting to see I obviously have a completely different set of results, when I do my search from Europe.

        Most of the stuff Google does is highly automated and I really wonder how much individual employees, ‘auditors of facts’, or let’s call them small big brothers, can affect and do affect on individual sites that have a skeptic inclination. Sometimes I do have a feeling SkS has been boosted, but it might also be it just has so much links to it in sites marked ‘good’ like Wikipedias. Which already reveals a bias since wikipedia by its nature is an activist site – every article there is written by activists of the subject, quite systematically so.

      • >>
        Something might be true, untrue, or anything else. Have you stopped beating your wife, true or false? This statement is classified as untrue.
        <<

        Or they may be assuming facts not in evidence.

        Jim

      • Hugs:”Most of the stuff Google does is highly automated and I really wonder how much individual employees, ‘auditors of facts’, or let’s call them small big brothers, can affect and do affect”

        Google actively hid the fact that Hillary was seriously ill during the campaign. The media called it fake news. Now with Donna Brazile’s book, “Hacked” we learn it was well known internally.

        So what do we do when the company that claims it is fighting fake news, is itself propagating fake news?

        Try googling “american scientists” to see just how far we have fallen. Every single day your “little brothers” inside Google are corrupting our knowledge, rewriting history and debasing our democracy.

      • “Google actively hid the fact”

        There is no such ‘the’ fact. But there are media biases and unwillingness to dig things that look like hearsay.

        But you can tell me what Google hid from me, and please do it using credible sources.

      • “There is a reality. There is just one version of reality. Reality is what it is. Each truth is what it is. Each truth is a part of the whole truth. The sum of all truths is equal to the one reality,” He said skeptically.

      • Damn straight!

        Truth is completely objective – it does not require anybody’s belief in it nor even knowledge of its existence in order to be true. It doesn’t care what you or I or anybody else thinks. The problem with many is that they conflate their beliefs with truth. The result is confusion and delusion and when there is something which they do not know if it be true or not, they think that a third state exists – the state of unknown. They confuse their knowledge of reality with reality itself. These are two distinctly separate things. To conflate one’s own totality of knowledge and belief with the totality of reality is to call oneself God.

    • Almost every time I click on WUWT I get a “can’t find this address” notification. It is a nuisance and would probably discourage others from accessing the site. This problem has been pervasive since 2009 when Climate Gate surfaced. Several other sites listed as friends on the right hand side of this website pinned, or click out of my ” favorites” exhibit the same problem. Also I get cursor freeze if I dwell on an article, or post trying to absorb others ideas or opinions.
      The browser I use is DuckDuckGo since it supposedly doesn’t track your history, but I believe they use Yahoo/Verizon’s architecture ( no way of knowing ) and it seems to have the same format ( used it years ago ). But since GOOGLE is so imbedded in everything on the web one cannot find alternatives—unless you computer-savvy folks have some advice.

      • Sounds like a problem specific to your computer. I get the message if the site is busy, my internet connection is temporarily lost, etc. Security settings can also do it. I have a Mac and it likes to “protect me” from the world. Try using a different browser—say Chrome (yes, it’s Google), Opera or Foxfire. Also check your security settings and your internet connection. Clear your history. There’s are tons of things that can cause this—the nature of computers, I guess.

      • A few days I was using my wife’s new computer to read WUWT. The browser search got zero hits. Foxfire was using Yahoo.

        I opened windows explorer that used google. Found WUWT with no issues.

        I normally use a Crome book and it finds WUWT.

      • Yes, has to be a computer glitch on your side. I don’t think anybody is messing with you because you are at WUWT. Never has happened to me. I don’t even get any advertising here at this site, except for a nifty looking water bottle/wine skin…on the side bar.

    • Just watched a vid called, Ice age is coming ,1978 science facts ,on google. if you haven;t seen it it may be interesting .lower on the same search page is an article called Fake global cooling news persists &propagates.I recomend watching this too. Interesting how they try to say that this was politically motivated.(huh)

      • Kendoll is so cute.
        “Ice age is coming”

        We are in an ice age. Of course this is subject to circular reasoning about scientific fact.

        If we agree that an ice age is characterized by polar caps and glaciers, then we have been in one for a few million years. If you look at timeline of earth history, ice ages are not common.

        Furthermore, this current ice age is characterized by long periods (about 100,000 years) where it is colder and large portions of the landmass of the northern hemisphere is covered with large glaciers. Then there are shorter warmer periods of 10-12k years.

        While science may disagree on details, we can say things that happened in the past are true facts. However, future events can never be a fact. I can tell you with 100% certainty the time of tomorrow’s sun rise.
        Something could happen to change that. I am equally certain that no one will be around to tell me I was wrong.

        I am also 100% certain that an ‘Ice age is coming’ if you define it as glaciers and sea level returning to what it was 20k years ago. I am equally certain that no one will be around to tell me I was wrong.

        I maintain that ‘Ice age is coming’ it just has not arrived yet. So if someone maintains that AGW is coming’ it just has not arrived yet they are just wrong.

        Al Gore has not changed his life style. QED

    • Google is proving itself to be an arrogant, airheaded outfit and this sort of stuff is the irrefutable evidence.

      The notion that some bloody algorithm can filter and rank ideas for their ‘truthiness’ is utterly moronic and sounds more like the Chinese or North Korean thought police at work. In fact the very idea comes from the same cretinous ideological roots as fascism, communism and managerialism.

      Suffice it to say that MBA also stands for ‘Mindless Bloody Autocrat’ or ‘Masturbating, Bullsh!##ing A$$hole’. Sorry to all those MBA’s, but its just some of you are the problem. It has more to do with some sort of priesthood that is obsessed with process rather than productivity let alone rational procedure or thought.

      The entire universe is an iterative mechanism, not some blooody klockwork automaton and besides, if you have an automaton model that has eigenvectors of ire, earth, air and water aranged in some recipe proportions then you ae going to get very different results from one with neutrons, protons, atomes, molecules, relativity and quantum physics that iterates to an evolutionary oitcome.

      • To retired kit p thankyou for your comments .to clarify ,i do not disagree with yiur comments .I was drawnig attention to a tv progam from 1978 ,featuring leonard nimoy &opinions from scientists of columbia university that an ice age like catastophe could occur within 200 years. this was following a very severe cold winter in much of usa in 1978.The video can now be viewed on you tube . I was contrasting this with the views of an agw supporter who tried to debunk this under the title i referred to ,ie Fake global Cooling News still persists ‘.Tthis was from ‘physics today ,’ by steven t corneliussen.dated 21 dec. 2016 , a somewhat denigratory article,.&the sudden change in the speculations of (some)scientistsetc.from ‘cooling to warming .

    • Elon Musk may have spoken the truth when he said that AI will destroy the human race.

      It already is well on its way to doing that.

      Computer programs designed by the less than able tell traffic lights to go red, and stop all cars, while it figures out which cars it can allow to proceed without causing a crash.

      A two year old child can make better traffic decisions:

      “Look mummy, there’s no cars coming, can we go now ?? ”

      A two year old child can tell what is a tree (ANY tree) and what is NOT a tree, such as the “AT&T Tree” which is a telephone pole.

      No computer program can positively identify as a tree ANY image of any conceivable real tree. Can a computer identify a Boojum tree in the Baja desert. A two year old might stumble on that one also.

      The wheels are slowly grinding to a halt, as ever more decisions are made by computers, programmed by persons who themselves may have no demonstrated problem solving skills at all.

      Eventually such foolishness will lead to disasters. I believe that General Curtis Lemay former head of SAC wanted to “launch on warning”, and then recall, when the DEW line radar determined it was just a flock of Canada geese.

      Trouble is by that time, the Soviets, would have obtained a positive launch from the US, and would also launch.

      Well it is going to be an interesting time to be alive; well as long as it lasts.

      G

      • On traffic light control – the ‘book’ on the VERY FIRST generally available microcomputer (Intel 4004 in 1976) had, as a demonstration of programming, a complete traffic light control program. Mind you, in South Africa, we have simple timers, so one can sit waiting for zilch!

    • Whoever has the money gets the girls.

      Eric Schmidt reportedly has a stringer of girlfriends in major cities all around the world. So when he visits his apartments in Manhattan, London, Beijing, he is set.

      Wifey apparently is okay with that little arrangement. She’s got her big money for life as well.

    • Google is not alone in that as plenty of the popular Science Media publishes stuff that is easily falsifiable because they are “loved by people willing to buy the magazine”. There are a number of scientists/crackpots that get articles because they have a following rather than anything of value to science such as Stephen Hawking, Erik Verlinde, Lee Smolin, Sean Carroll.

      • Popular Science hopped on the AGW train early on. Popular Mechanics maintained skepticism, and also published things like articles debunking 9/11 myths. But the last time I had a subscription to PM they’d flipped and were no different from PS, also a much thinner magazine.

      • Nothing Griff he had the beginnings of a good idea which Bekenstein ultimately completed, he ultimately accepted Bekensteins view and predicted Hawking Radiation. From that point on all his publications are varying degrees of crazy many-worlds interpretation of QM mixed in with GR. He is far more of a celebrity than he is a physicist or as we usually call him the funny little man in the wheelchair, which is because his views aren’t taken seriously.

        As you wouldn’t have a clue about these matters, and I really could care less what you think, the matter is sort of moot. However he is Brit and a bit of celebrity so you no doubt buy the various magazines about him and are one of those who keeps him in the limelight.

      • There is a lesson in Hawkings vs Higgs and “that bet” you could take a lesson from if you ever bothered to read. Higgs and his theory was largely ridiculed by a great many including Hawkings only he was right and got something Hawkings doesn’t a Nobel prize.

  1. In this case it’s truth is in the eye of the beholder. The Silicone Valley is a well known nest of Progressive politics. I’m not sure why because they are the epitome of Capitalism.

    • That’s because successful liberals won’t apply the fundamentals of their success to examining liberal dogma, markl. If they applied the scientific methods of climate science to computer design, construction and software development, we would not have smart phones.

      Prove me wrong, Nick.

    • I have a relative who works for one of the big companies in Silicon Valley and he’s realized that their whole culture is corrupted by Progressive groupthink and counterproductive work habits. The biggest problem is with middle management–they can’t seem to make a decision because profit isn’t their main goal. Most of the time they’re behind schedule because nobody is given the authority to make important decisions.

      • RockyRoad
        November 22, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        I have a relative who works for one of the big companies in Silicon Valley and he’s realized that their whole culture is corrupted by Progressive groupthink and counterproductive work habits…………

        Rocky, One should use Silicone Valley with an E. This is to identify it as fake and showy. :-)

        SteveT

    • no, they are not the epitome of capitalism.
      they have monopolies galore- goons with guns protect their monopolies.
      copyright and patent are not free enterprise. they are license to exterminate competition by force and threat.

      • Don’t forget that many of them are just high-tech advertising companies, which are funded by borrowed money held at artificially low interest rates.

        Without the government, most of Silicon Valley would go bankrupt.

        And Goolag’s biggest fear must be that, if half their users believe the politically correct thing and half believe the Deplorable thing, then cutting off the latter half will soon result in a drop in advertising income.

    • Seems to be a common phenomenon that when people become fabulously wealthy they then have the luxury of being ‘progressives’. Difficult being a ‘progressive’ when you are struggling to put bread on the table. People like to forget where that wealth came from and how it was acquired and imagine that it is because of some inherent nobleness of thought and deed on their part and that they and their peers are somehow preordained and entitled to sit above the common herd and direct it with lofty wisdom.

      • It makes sense, though. ‘Progressivism’ helps to keep the majority of people poor, thereby preventing them from competing with the 1%.

      • Agreed, Mark. The feeling is “I have mine, who cares about you?” As long as the billionaires stay rich and without competetion, what happens to everyone else is irrelevant as far as they are concerned.

    • There we have the core of the problem. Machines are only programmed and if something deviates from their program routine, they quickly reach their limits. On the other hand, that is reassuring that no machine can enter the brilliance of the human mind. And, presumably, machines will remain tumble specialists for a very long time in the future, lacking the linkage of information, the instinctive filtering out of right or wrong. If we put our destiny in the hands of machines, a blind, stupid and short-sighted rule would come out.

      • “..no machine can enter the brilliance of the human mind”

        Unfortunately the human mind is just as unreliable as other machines. Under stressful conditions it is very common for the mind to play tricks on us, to make us believe that what we see is what we are expecting to see, when in fact it is not. The fate of Iran Air 655 underlines that point, where a missile operator, fearing an attack dive by a military jet, shot down a passenger jet whose altitude was increasing at the time.

        It is also not unknown for malicious persons to exploit this irrational behavior of the mind under specific circumstances for their own gain. For example the social worker who started the ‘Orkney Satanic panic.’

    • Google is trying to come up with an algorithm that will make their increasingly complex system hold the same anti-industrial and anti-civilization beliefs as your average Green/Progressive.

      It’s only a matter of time before it inevitably goes ‘Skynet’.

      ~¿~

    • First comes the censorship then comes the force. The lesson of various Spanish Inquisitions throughout time always gets forgotten.

      • And it shouldn’t be unexpected. I have more examples than I can count on both hands of personally being FORCED out of areas of the internet by being banned/censored/shadow banned/downvoted. In many cases it is obviously ORGANISED by groups of gatekeepers.

  2. They would do better just focusing on whether the content matches the title. This alone exposes most news items as fake or garbage. Of course they will discover that most mainstream news is crap.

  3. Eric Schmidt’s Alphabet (aka Google) is scared shitless about the FCC about to undo Obama’s Title II Common Carrier declaration and regulation of the US internet.

    He should be.

    Oligarchs like Schmidt love cozy state-run protection from competition. Googy-boy Eric had a cozy little relationship with Obammy’s White House. Not so any more with Trump’s.

    • what in the world do they have to fear? they are creatures of the state and the nsa will protect their prizm inmates.
      besides, they already made their pile.

    • joelobryan, I hope you are right but I don’t share your optimism about Donald Trump’s approach to internet legislation/regulation. To my mind, not having a requirement for a completely level internet playing-field facilitates far worse manipulation than Google has managed so far.

      Google’s attempt to automate truth detection is as futile as a bottom-up climate model – it can never work. Much better to work on providing a search engine that is as unbiased as possible, while blocking the bad things that really matter like illegal activity, incitement to violence or hatred, etc. Freedom of speech is a strange beast which strengthens society at exactly the point that certain sensitive souls become convinced that it is weakening it.

    • joelobryan
      November 22, 2017 at 8:26 pm
      ……………………….He should be.

      Oligarchs like Schmidt love cozy state-run protection from competition.

      State run(supported) protection from competition – the most telling indication of fa-sh – ism.

      It is a common component.

      SteveT

    • I have to disagree. Google will be able to exploit this by quite a bit due to the oligarchy of IPSs. A few key deals here and there, and Youtube TV will be at maximum speed everywhere, but Netflix is sadly down to extremely low streaming speeds. Sorry.

      When there is no meaningful competition, the big names can push each other around quite a bit, and heaven help any little guys.

  4. The educated left has lots of facts which they can drag out to support their positions.

    The deplorables don’t have nearly as many facts but they know in their hearts and their guts that they have been the losers, no matter what facts and rhetoric are dragged out to explain why they deserve their fate.

    At some point, facts and objective testable truth don’t matter.

    But ’tis strange.
    And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
    The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
    Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s
    In deepest consequence. link

    The liberal left doesn’t understand that President Trump’s election is a kindly warning. It’s entirely likely that someone much much worse is waiting in the wings and will emerge if things keep deteriorating for the majority of the population.

    • Good point.

      The Dumpocrap perves should thank their lucky Gaia goddess stars that Trump is with them on so many of their most cherished issues.

      When the taxpaying, moral, family-oriented middle and working class truly rise up, having had enough, their agent is liable to be a lot less friendly toward hairy old men defecating next to young girls.

      • Gabro

        “When the taxpaying, moral, family-oriented middle and working class truly rise up”

        I’m not sure I can imagine anything worse.

        In my experience, there are indeed three classes of people.

        1. The extraordinarily poor who have never had anything and don’t expect to ever have anything. They are, almost universally, decent people with family and community values but they don’t believe they have a right to impose those values on others.

        2. The extraordinarily wealthy, and I mean old money wealth, handed down over generations. They know nothing but wealth and are strangely unaffected by it. They are invariably educated, thoughtful, generous people with impeccable manners and the concept of ‘Manners maketh the man’ is of great value to them.

        3. Then there’s rest of us in between, the ‘middle class’ if you like. Ambitious, aggressive, opinionated people, desperately scrabbling to climb the financial, social, and intellectual ladder in order to impose our superiority over our peers. Concencus scientists, religious leaders and career politicians are comfortable in this environment as a University education, no matter how good or bad, is all that’s needed to impose their moralistic opinions on their peers/subordinates. And of course, it seems any degree endows the recipient with the authority to comment on any subject, no matter how far removed from their qualifications.

        There are, of course, exceptions to any example. e.g. many climate sceptics are middle class but seem to value scientific truth more than their personal prejudices, wealth, or status. People like Tim Ball and Willie Soon could just roll over, keep their mouths shut, and take the money. But at great personal expense, financially and otherwise, they continue to stick to their principles of science and truth which, in true altruistic fashion, benefits their family and the community at large.

      • HotScot,
        I think you should add the American, nouveau riche technocrat, formerly middle-class, to your list.

    • Commie,
      you wrote:

      “The deplorables don’t have nearly as many facts but they know in their hearts and their guts that they have been the losers.”

      You could not be more wrong. The Facts are not on the climateers side.
      Go read “Climate of Fear” by Michael Crichton. And then read his Appendix 1 at the end of the book.

      The Climateers are the real frauds who do not have the facts on their side. Climateers only have the models on their side. And the models are pure pseudoscience crap. Crichton realized that while he was doing research in the early 2000’s for his novel. That is why Dr. Crichton became a very dangerous climate heretic for the Left’s new religion.

      • The deplorables are undereducated Working Joes, former members of the middle class. When compared with the educated experts on the liberal left, they really can’t summon up that many facts, be they true facts or false facts. What they do know is that they’re getting the short end of the stick. That stays true no matter how many ‘facts’ the educated liberal left throws at them. They also know that the educated liberal left treats them with great contempt.

        The deplorables don’t care if President Trump tells the occasional whopper. He, at least, acknowledges their pain.

        There’s a 94 year old blogger who remembers being the son of a poor coal miner. He and his sister had to rummage through restaurant garbage cans to get something to eat. He sees things sliding back toward that kind of world. He’s worth a thousand lying liberal experts with their myriad ‘facts’.

        ‘Facts’ can hide really big lies. The deplorables know that. They don’t care about the facts of CAGW, they just know that it’s being used as a club to beat them.

      • joelobryan
        November 22, 2017 at 9:43 pm

        Commie,
        you wrote:

        “The deplorables don’t have nearly as many facts but they know in their hearts and their guts that they have been the losers.”

        You could not be more wrong. The Facts are not on the climateers side.
        Go read “Climate of Fear” by Michael Crichton. And then read his Appendix 1 at the end of the book.

        +100
        Most people can reason out things very well, especially when having the direction pointed out.

        The recent British budget has singled out private diesel for extra taxes excluding other vehicles. Anybody standing in a high street knows (can see for themselves) that the main source of pollution from tailpipes comes from the bigger buses, lorries and vans that stop and start far more frequently. Also some of the older taxis.
        There will always be an older car or two smoking as well, but the reality is visible and the real agenda of control and taxation is very clear, whatever the excuse/reason given.

        SteveT

  5. No way could they claim truth or falsity on inherently political issues, and a great deal of “science” is political. Climate, epidemiology, economics, medicine, and nutrition all have ongoing controversies.
    There are definite hoaxes on the net, notably on Facebook, but judging them by an computer program is just mechanizing the prejudices of the programmer.

    • The problem is the Silicon Valley tech leaders think all of their personal prejudices are logical, well considered positions.

      If their positions are entirely logical, it follows that it should be possible to reconstruct their prejudices with a software which analyses existing data using a simple set of rules, rules like “scientific claims must be backed with peer reviewed literature to be considered legitimate”.

      What I suspect is upsetting them is their software engine is reaching radically different conclusions to their personal prejudices.

      Naturally they are interpreting this as a defect with their software engine. “Google should be able to address by tweaking the algorithm”

      • They are trying to do something impossible. To take a subject, nutrition has an ongoing controversy, with the followers of the late Ancel Keys clinging to the benefits of a low fat, especially low saturated fat, diet. There is substantial institutional support for the Keys model, despite substantial evidence the model does not yield the results promised. There is even an analogy to Climategate, with Keys suppressing a major study he did that did not confirm his model.
        Economics or psych are even worse. And anyone who knows the details of any other field of inquiry can very likely pull up examples of the “consensus” in that field being nonexistent.

      • “What I suspect is upsetting them is their software engine is reaching radically different conclusions to their personal prejudices.

        Naturally they are interpreting this as a defect with their software engine. “Google should be able to address by tweaking the algorithm”

        The Google algorithm is probably flagging the New York Times and Washington Post as Fake News, and Google management thinks there much be something wrong with their software.

      • Who the hell cares! There is no such thing as “TRUTH” in science. The search in science is for skill in prediction. Using this metric should make it easy on Google to weed out positions that have been shown to have no skill. Google can’t deal with ideology…. so what! In ideology protecting the ideology is more important than advancing the discussion and improving skill. So Google is on a fools errand that only an elitist could attempt to make sense of.. I hope their brains fry trying to figure it out.

      • Please! “If Al Gore said it – it is not the truth.” Should be modified to ” if Al Gore said it – it has demonstrated no skill.”

      • Yet another invaluable article Eric.
        It probably comes as no surprise to most of us realists.
        After all, is not Google the illegitimate offspring of the CIA and other alphabetical big “guvment” outfits?
        Personally, I use Duckduckgo.com and have been for ages.
        No googling in this house.

  6. Whenever politics intersects with a subjective truth, one side will generally be more correct than the other, but there will at least be a kernel of truth in both positions making it difficult to discern absolute truth, but which side of politics supports which version of the truth is relatively easy to determine and this would be useful information to be returned with search results for politically controversial topics. Results from both sides should appear in search results and which politics supports which position should be indicated. Let the user decide for themselves making sure that they know if it’s a politically controversial topic.

    In the case of climate science, the IPCC and its self serving consensus is so wrong, it defies logic and algorithms make decisions based on logic, making this particularly difficult as a science test, but as a political test, it should be easier because by its nature, politics transcends logic. By this measure, everything on the IPCC site, GISS site, this site and other climate related sites would be flagged as politically controversial and politically aligned. Most people aren’t even aware of how controversial the science is and the extent to which politics has framed the debate and distorted the science.

    • Isn’t the great worry in of all of this that Google has an obvious solution to the problem Schmidt describes – and one which should make us afraid, very afraid. It merely trains its ‘truth’ algorithm on a number of ‘authority’ sites – vetted by ??guess who – which are awarded high rank and are trusted to resolve which of the two competing ‘truths’ is valid. It might even do this without telling anyone. It might even be doing it already. The ultimate appeal to authority. E. Schmidt, Secretary for the Department of Truth.

      • mothcatcher
        November 23, 2017 at 1:55 am

        Isn’t the great worry in of all of this that Google has an obvious solution to the problem Schmidt describes – and one which should make us afraid, very afraid……..

        But it also frightens google, because gradually people realise what is happening and stop using it.
        I do not and will not use google for anything. The invisible use, embedded in other routines is more difficult to avoid but I keep working on it. This is what worries the Slicone(deliberate -fake and showy) valley mob-sters because they can see the day of their demise coming as more and more people switch to alternative means of discovering the alternative view.

        SteveT

      • SteveT – November 23, 2017 at 3:17 am

        But it also frightens google, because gradually people realise what is happening and stop using it.

        “HA”, are you implying that Google is “learning” because of what has happened to Wikipedia?

  7. “Google Truth Algorithm: Users are Part of the Problem”
    WUWT really needs to be more careful with headlines. It was Facebook who said that users are part of the problem, and that is because their reliance on “friends” and networking stuff.

    “To put it another way, in the case of climate skepticism I suspect Google’s problem is they have discovered there are lots of published mainstream peer reviewed papers which support climate skeptic positions.”
    I think it is extremely unlikely that Google will ever try to classify scientific papers, and there is no chance that it is part of their current concerns.

    Filtering on the basis of merit is always goingto be difficult. However, there is an awful lot of junk out there, as I think everyone would agree, even if they don’t agree on what it is. And something has to be done about the potential for automated production. It’s like controlling spam – most people think that is a good idea. And ironically, Facebook hs been getting a lot of flak for not doing something about the Russian bots.

    • Nick, something like Facebook listing on posts how long the poster had been on FB, and keying to the use of similar names to other, more established entities, would deal with much of the fake sites.

    • Google deliberately suppressed searches on Climategate.

      Insiders in the company said this was common practice. Google is as corrupt and dirty as any left-leaning MSM outlet.

      Eric Schmidt and his wife run a “Climate Change” propaganda site.

    • @NickS

      I think it is extremely unlikely that Google will ever try to classify scientific papers, and there is no chance that it is part of their current concerns.

      Even if they did for any side it’s meaningless, Science is not a democracy you don’t get a vote. Keep that rubbish in Climate Science and Politics.

      Filtering on the basis of merit is always going to be difficult.

      For science case again pointless, you don’t get to decide on merit.

      It really isn’t as hard as what people make out they are a search engine all it really needs to do is better understand the user and what they are asking. Truth, consensus and merit are selective criteria based on who is asking the question. A classic case would be “how old is the universe”, most probably you want 13 Billion years as and answer, but there is a group who want some number in a few thousand years. There is nothing wrong with that, I am certainly not going to force my 13 billion year answer onto a group who that is unacceptable. So the truth of the answer comes down to who is asking the question and that is not Googles choice or concern.

      • I quick search for “how old is the universe” found a biblical answer at number 12. It’s pretty hilarious, and I’m not sure of it is a spoof or not.

        I like this in particular: “many scientists believe the world is old because they believe most other scientists think the world is old”

      • But, but, the Earth really is flat! Go outside! Look down the street! Flat as a strap!

        No doubts about that anyway…

      • A minimum of research on this story reveals that the strength of his belief in a flat earth is closely tied to the amount of publicity and sponsorship it can attract. A consummate fundraiser.

      • The curvature of the earth can be seen at ground level over Lake Erie if the lightning flashes are in the “right places” in the background at night.

        The earth looks flat to city dwellers?

        Sometimes there are “mirror- image tree” sightings during daylight hours from across the lake as well.

    • “I think it is extremely unlikely that Google will ever try to classify scientific papers”

      Uhh, Nick? Two words, “Google Scholar”.

      Yes, Google does, rather overtly, classify scientific papers. Over, done, gone. They’ve been doing it for years.

      Head meet sand.

    • You can not fight a thing that does not exist and was only invented to distract you from your own failure. Says Don Quixote.

    • Nick, would Google put Tony Heller’s reposte of each of your false claims front and center? I doubt it. A simple test of your truthfullness in that case would be ‘did NS go to TH’s site and prove TH wrong, when he was invited to?’. Nope. Thus TH is correct, Nick guilty of slanderous talk, making all of what NS says suspect.

    • The problem with the ‘truth’ algorithm is that is that things that the far left echo chamber believes to be true are often flagged as false, and visa versa. Until they come up with a computer algorithm that implements pathological projection, which is the mechanism the left uses to support its position by attributing its own flaws to the other side, algorithmic logic will still prevail.

  8. From the article: “The problem comes when diametrically opposed viewpoints abound — the Google algorithm can not identify which is misinformation and which is truth.”

    Sounds like some people I know.

    • “The problem comes when diametrically opposed viewpoints abound — the Google algorithm can not identify which is misinformation and which is truth.”

      This dramatically shows the mis-education of the folks in Silicone Valley. When viewpoints(OPINIONS) differ science and logic leave the room. An algorithm is a procedure to solve a problem. When you have lots of opinions, each slightly different than the others in different ways there is NO misinformation or TRUTH, just a multitude of different opinions. No procedure or algorithm can “solve” why there are different opinions.

      What Google is looking for is the tried and truth method of investigative reporting- sending curious people to ask questions, weigh answers, look for contradictions, missing information, follow links and associations, find sources, and more and then report on it. “The science is settled on AGW” should take a good reporter at most one day to follow the topic and come up with an answer- “science is never settled. A lot of people have spent and made a lot of money pushing AGW, but the scientific evidence is at best equivocal. Mostly it’s a political fight for power, control, and funds.”

    • In the case of the climate, it should be easy since when reconciled with actual science, the alarmists are so incredibly wrong. However, the fact that they are so incredibly wrong is what confuses the algorithm, as the algorithm, like most alarmists, fails to accommodate the fact that people who are supposed to be smart can be incredibly wrong. It fails to account for how political bias turns even ‘smart’ brains into mush.

  9. Google is the greatest threat to free society. I fully assume within 60 years google robot war dogs will prowl the streets using algorithms to find suspected climate deniers for elimination or re-education camps. The idea yahoo and m$ couldn’t create competitive search back 15 20 years ago is beyond ridiculous. They were put there on purpose.

  10. I know for sure that if I were intending to spread evil across the planet through manipulation of corrupt information filters I too would hide those acts behind a motto of “Don’t be evil.”

      • Scott
        November 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm

        Google isn’t “evil”, their(sic) arrogant and stupid. This combination often appears to be evil.

        Of course they’re evil. Why do you think they removed “do no evil” from their motto, if it wasn’t to avoid possible legal complications? Misleading advertising etc.?

        Their use of biased information has probably led to untold losses around the world. Lives, freedom, money etc.

        SteveT

      • I began using the add-on startpage.com when I got sick and tired of seeing Google’s annoying little “social justice” memes every. single. day. when I logged on. What a bunch of phonies!

  11. This is highly amusing. Google is not so much searching for the truth, but rather searching for some straws that support their pre-determined position on various subjects. They are trying to convince themselves that they are working on finding a solution to the search for the Truth, but they might eventually have to admit that they were barking up the wrong tree.

  12. Google is a religious organization. They have a dogma that they believe infallible. It is easy for them to judge truth, the guy that thinks otherwise is a heretic.

  13. I try not to use any Google programs. Getting more and more difficult. Guess I will have to switch my computer off soon.

    • Not sure if it is better, but you could try using http://yandex.com/ instead. This is a search engine from Russia. I have used it a few times in relation to CAGW and found that it may be slightly more objective.

  14. It seems as if Michael Crichton had a better grasp on this than Eric Schmidt:

    «I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.»
    – Michael Crichton

    «Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.»
    Michael Crichton

    “I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
    – Michael Crichton

    Another thing is that the things that brings development and greater understanding than consensus can never be found in the in the consensus – quite obvious really. The most interesting observations are never found in the consensus.

  15. What’s Google going to do in the future when the preponderance of evidence and majority of people (consensus) are that CAGW is really the fake news and Google’s bias was on the wrong side? Will their search engine find articles pointing this out, or will their search algorithm have to be tweaked to avoid these articles?

  16. Who the hell cares! There is no such thing as “TRUTH” in science. The search in science is for skill in prediction. Using this metric should make it easy on Google to weed out positions that have been shown to have no skill. Google can’t deal with ideology…. so what! In ideology protecting the ideology is more important than advancing the discussion and improving skill. So Google is on a fools errand that only an elitist could attempt to make sense of.. I hope their brains fry trying to figure it out.

  17. Long ago I read Asimov’s Foundation, google seems like the people that needed to make an encyclopedia of all knowledge, when the real foundation was quite something else.

  18. As it seems, Eric Schmidt is nothing but a great totalitarian:
    “The company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts, what a shock, and the facts of climate change are not in question anymore,” Schmidt said. “Everyone understands that climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying.” –
    Eric Schmidt as Google Executive Chairman

    • They probably need to go back and read Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, suppression of opposing views and redefinition of truth is always the first step.

    • As far as I can tell, your second Eric Schmidt quote is accurate, and depressing, but not for the obvious reasons.
      Mr Schmidt is executive chairman of a gigantic multinational corporation, but he can’t even construct a sentence to say what he means.
      He said, “Everyone understands that climate change is occurring,” which is , ironically , true. The sceptics just think is all natural, as it has been for aeons.
      Then he says “and the people who oppose it….” .
      People who oppose climate change?
      I can oppose the proposition that fossil fuel usage is responsible for climate change, but I can’t oppose climate change itself. That would be like opposing the yearly change of the seasons.
      Perhaps Mr Schmidt should attend some English classes.

      • sonofametman

        It’s little more than a statement of frustration, without actually screaming “deniers” and stamping his wittle feetsies.

      • Then there’s this beaut: “They’re just literally lying.” Any high schooler who wrote the words “just literally” on any kind of paper would likely receive much-deserved rebuke, and two grades deducted automatically. The claim itself is of course mere hand-waving. He’s a pathetic lying fool.

  19. Gosh darn Eric. Who would have known? It’s also remarkably difficult for everyone else to understand truth.

    Get in line.

  20. It is not google,s job to pick truth.
    It’s job is to gather information related to the search requested.
    It is the requesters right to determine what is the truth.
    Anything else is sociatle manipulation.

  21. I speculate that if government decreed that search engine algorithms intended to filter fake news/truth from lies were user selectable with an ON/OFF button on the front page it might help. Each Google user could turn OFF the Google algorithms and see the raw search. This would make certain things very transparent and thus in itself would moderate the evil as well as shine a light on it.

    For things like FB, MSN, etc you could similarly have a number of algorithm driven features under user control.By toggling the buttons users would be able to see the effect. The transparency would probably create a market for sites with “NO ALGOS” as a USP.

    The demographic would split into users who are happy to accept the algos the companies choose and those who prefer the more open “no algo” stuff. Arguments about censorship and manipulation are assisted when you advise people, “OK, now try turning it OFF and see the difference..” .

    • The Reverend Badger

      What a bloody good idea.

      Anyone have some seed capital to fund such a search facility?

      • There are other search engines available, they have been mentioned before on here (someone can remind us – I don’t have any first hand experience) and they will no doubt have different (less biased) algos. Might be worth seeing what else is about in the market place and producing a chart comparing them.

    • Your Reverence

      As I understand it, they all basically use Google, but with different front ends. For example, I use Duck Duck Go simply because it doesn’t track your activities, not that I have anything to hide. But looking at the results from the same search on both, they seem virtually identical.

      • Bing.com, by Microsoft, uses its own engine. (But one isn’t hurting Google by not using it. Instead, you’re imposing computational costs on it. It gets its revenue from ad-clicks. Just avoid clicking.)

  22. failed to find a common marker which allows their personal prejudices to be confirmed as objective reality.

    Ah…the continual search for that elusive objective reality, which everyone agree exists, and yet which no one has conclusively found a way to get close to.

    • heh- your statement misses the mark in a conclusively self fulfilling way.
      your logic fail consists of a self contradiction (don’t they all? self falsification, tho, is something that gets noticed…)
      the self contradiction is that you are asserting something as true, i.e., that corresponds 1:1 with reality (there is no need for the adjective ‘objective’ for there is no alternative reality, mmk?)
      the assertion you make is that nobody (which includes yourself if you are a somebody) has found a way to do what you just now pretend to do.
      how’s that for a tidy bit of semantic analysis that any 3 yr old child of 2 can manage if he actually thinks.
      just cuz you know you have failed in all previous attempts, don’t give up. it’s achievable.
      if you need some help, ask mr sci.or.fi

    • Even in mathematics Kurt Gödel proved that there is no axiomatic or algorithmic approach to determining the truth for all theorems. There are “islands of truth” out there that one just has to hypothesize as being true.

      • goedel’s theorem simply said that sometimes you have to think outside the box.
        i don’t believe it was his intention to extol impotence of the mind at all.
        i am also aware that this perversion is used for the purpose of crippling minds so that they may be more easily enslaved. it is one of the classics. ‘you can’t know anything because you can’t know everything’
        which, as you may instantly perceive, being the thoroughly logical person you are, is a self contradiction and therefore a lie – and bad to believe.
        for whoever may find value in get.out.of.thinking rationale, darwin will deal with ya.
        first you lose the sapiens badge as a warning.

      • No, you are unable to logically discuss this area of meta-mathematics without first going through and understanding Gödel’s Incompleteness Proof.

      • “No, you are unable to logically discuss this area of meta-mathematics without first going through and understanding Gödel’s Incompleteness Proof.”
        wut? maybe you need a bit of a refresher.

        “First Incompleteness Theorem: “Any consistent formal system F within which a certain amount of elementary arithmetic can be carried out is incomplete; i.e., there are statements of the language of F which can neither be proved nor disproved in F.” (Raatikainen 2015)”
        bold that part ‘statements of the language F’ because that is the defined context.
        it is not referring to statements of any language of which F is a subset- got it?

        “Gödel specifically cites Richard’s paradox and the liar paradox as semantical analogues to his syntactical incompleteness …
        The liar paradox is the sentence “This sentence is false.”
        An analysis of the liar sentence shows that it cannot be true (for then, as it asserts, it is false), nor can it be false (for then, it is true)….
        The analysis of the truth and provability of G is a formalized version of the analysis of the truth of the liar sentence.”
        still with me?

        here’s how we resolve the liar paradox: identify it as a self contradiction. done.
        that’s just one step out of the box and instant resolution.
        did i just eff the ineffable or what? the inscrutable got scruted. eh?
        now who actually knows goedel’s theorem well enough to make practical use of it, son?
        goedel did not say a proposition was unresolvable in all contexts, did he?

      • actually, that’s nothing like a definition, much less a definition of the word proposition
        wanna discuss something logically? you must begin with definitions.
        do you know what is the definition of ‘definition’?
        if not, you should start there.

  23. “What people like Google’s Schmidt desperately want to discover is a generalised way of detecting fake news.”

    It’s worse than that. They seem to think they can write a general algorithm for finding “truth”, that AI can match the hype that has been attached to it since the advent of electronic computers. It is as if centuries, nay, millennia, of human intellectual effort and development can quickly be described and improved upon with a few lines of code written by a bunch of programmers with a bit of ‘attitude’. The apparent naïveté of Google executives really ought to worry their stockholders.

    What Eric Schmidt needs is for a senior engineer not afraid to give him a birds-and-the-bees talk about the truth of where AI is at. Unfortunately, since the firing of engineer James Damore for telling the truth, Schmidt will find such people very thin on the ground at Google.

  24. It’s worse than that. They seem to think they can write a general algorithm for finding “truth”

    So “they” pretend that Truth is a matter of False/Not False and a combination of AND, OR and XOR logical operations?

  25. Google, like the vast majority of progressives/leftists, never engage in conversation with conservatives. They surround themselves in life with others just like them, so they believe their views are held by the majority of people. It comes as a complete shock to them when they are confronted with the fact that their views are in the minority.

  26. Their main problem is that they are trying to treat opinion and bias as provable or falsifiable facts (or falsehoods). Bias and opinion are virtually by definition neither provable nor falsifiable.

  27. Ranking is everything in the Google world. Results on page one of a search are those articles that have more people referencing them than those on page 12. This is the Google algorithm. Fake news or crappy news has always been a problem. It is possible there is an algorithmic solution. To do this however, requires a return to Aristotle — premises leading to a conclusion. Popularity, as such, of a proposition is by definition a fallacy. The more people that link, like or retweet something has no weight on truthfulness. Democracy is decent for, say, the selection of a delimited administrator for a specific period of time but rubbish epistemologically.

    The problem with social media is that it is social. There is no barrier to entry. However, nonsense has always been with us, it is just easier to spread it today. Hopefully, the next “Google killer” will be able to detect how well some argument is supported. It could be AI or something else.

    • Don MacFarlane
      November 23, 2017 at 1:20 am

      Ranking is everything in the Google world. Results on page one of a search are those articles that have more people referencing them than those on page 12…….

      No. The results on page one are the ones that google wants to be referenced more than those on page 12. Whether this is because they have been paid to advertise that site or whether it fits their bias or any other reason.
      As this becomes more obvious, people go elsewhere.

      SteveT

    • The classic Google algorithm ranked pages by how many links lead to them. But since then they’ve “refined” it with many other factors which are kept secret. At first the refinements were to account for black-hat SEO that produced lots of low quality links. More recently they’ve been captured by the attempt to favor “truth”.

  28. ‘They believe in their hearts that climate skepticism for example is as nutty as thinking the moon landings were faked, ‘oddly in Lew papers research what was found is that AGW proponents were very keen on the whole ‘fake moon landing ‘ idea more so than AGW sceptics. Which comes as little surprise when you consider how keen they are to see ‘fossil fuel funded ‘ conspiracies behind every-door , and how some of them clearly gone through considerable supplies of tin-foil to keep ‘the man ‘ out of their minds .

  29. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all have the same problem. You wouldn’t believe what’s happening – no, that’s not right – there are those of us that have wrongly had accounts taken down. (I forgot to mention Flickr, which also has a problem.)

    There is a way to “fix” this: restore freedom of speech. Truth has a way of winning.

  30. Primarily so much social media mistakes popularity for truth — just because something is widely believed does not make it correct.
    Social media too often undermines the feelings of worth of the undecided, and elevates feelings of worth of the opinionated, and the socially manipulative types.
    Social media too often reduces highly complex issues to little more than simplistic diatribes of judging outcomes as a binary ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ result.
    Social media too often pushes the idea of being ‘on the winning side’ as a primary virtue (either implicitly or explicitly). This often leads to a form of suppression of minority, and often unconventional, views by the willfulness of the semi-tutored but often ignorant majority.

    These sentiments will never ‘go viral’.

  31. We would not tolerate a phone company deciding about content on the phone network. We would not tolerate a a highway system thst used political tests to determine who gets on the highway.
    There is no reason to tolerste a search engine company deciding what we search for based on their politics.
    Google is a highway of information.
    They create basically zero content.
    End the google/fb/etc. censorship and exploitation of our lives.

    • The analog doesn’t work because Google has developed the ways to get meaningful content out. They’re not an operator or phone book, they’re more like a publisher of an encyclopedia. They didn’ write the articles, but they selected them and put them in order in the first place.

  32. Is my prima facie conclusion wrong that the majority (all?) of the peer reviewed papers that contradict AGW are authored by non-climate scientists who are simply doing science related to their field (e.g., geology) , and therefore not beholden to AGW funding?

  33. The “internet”, or rather the “WWW”, became all about “linking” “stuff” as Tim Berners-Lee “posited” in the 1990’s. The rest is history.

    So, when I researched a subject in the 1970’s, I had to go to a well stocked library. Common back then. Today? Google is your “friend” and libraries are being depleted.

    • Very true. For those who have the money and time it is well worth accumulating your own REAL library of ACTUAL BOOKS on topics that are important to you.

      BTW I have just read Crichton’s “State of Fear” following a recommendation on here. VERY good (only read the story, not the appendices or footnotes yet). Got a superb s/h hardback copy for £2.50 inc post off eBay. Obviously not very popular so the retailer’s algo has reduced it to minimal price!

  34. In my research, I find the more interesting papers or anecdotes are way down the numbered pages, so that is where I start and then go backwards. Or I use Duck Duck Go, which doesn’t seem biased.

      • with thunderbird, you just have to click on the left icon of your search bar, a list of search places appears and an option to add more is at the bottom. I use duckduckgo. Another bonus is that DDG do not tries to adapt my result according to my country, as Google do

  35. Google’s mistake is trying to regulate content.

    But I have an algorithm for them to detect fake news. If the principles have a (D) by their name, it’s fake.

    • “Google’s mistake is trying to regulate content.”

      Google & Facebook are under pressure from EU governments and the EU itself to marginalize certain fringe views. (ii suspect they attribute Brexit in part to the traction the Leave party got on the Internet.) This probably explains what they’ve been doing lately as much as their own (similar) biases.

  36. Your last paragraph in the article is a very good definition of “corporate culture”. As long as the party line can be supported – or not proven wrong – all those people who follow it will willfully look the other way at anything that would endanger their position – both on the issue and their position in the corporate culture that it depends on.

  37. Are we maybe talking about (yet) another ‘Magical Thought Bubble’
    —–these folks have thought so long and so hard about something/anything that they become quite blinkered/blind to any other possibility.
    – and maybe as we know from personal experience, a messenger bringing an opposing view is summarily shot.

    Just this week, I went on (and promptly left) an online course on Food, Nutrition & Well-being – from Uni of Aberdeen.

    I dared suggest that people with a BMI of 26, 27 or 28 have been found (by counting actual corpses) to live longer than most everyone else. i.e that advice from the WHO was flat out wrong.
    Also that ultra low sodium guidelines were dangerous (from the getting cramps) for folks on existing hypertension medication and generally folks working in high temp/humidity environments.

    I was summarily deleted with not a word of explanation.
    An appeal to the WORLD authority?????

    This is the chemical brain depressant at work (sugar and grog) , especially awful coming from Uni of Aberdeen which actually started the course by suggesting there are 4 food groups – fat, carbs, protein and ALCOHOL
    The Drug is doing the talking.

    And what *exactly* are these people spending my tax ££££ on – what *does* go on in these ivory towers?

    • You won’t necessarily be able to stop deletions like this but what you can do is to publicise it widely, write letters to members of the University management, letters to local papers, TV radio, etc. People who act like this should be very publicly forced to talk about what they do.

    • It doesn’t help that BMI is a bad index. The BMI is mass (kg) divided by height (m) squared. It is stupid on its face because it will classify bodybuilders as morbidly obese. In the old days, obesity was defined by the proportion of body mass that is fat. As with much the way things are in biological existence, the curve is quadratic. Go too far away from optimal (where optimal only exists for that particular individual) mortality increases.

      • And body fat % is affected by several factors unrelated to diet or activity level. Like one’s sex. Female breasts are essentially rolls of fat , insulation for the mammary glands. Or ethnicity. People of African decent tend towards a lower overall body fat % — a big reason why you don’t see very many black Olympic swimmers winning medals. Fat floats. With less fat, they have to expend a small but significant amount of extra energy, significant enough to affect performance in athletic swimming events.

  38. That’s what happens when you are taught (or you teach) that there is no truth with a capital T.
    It’s all subjective to your point of view.

    Google just learned that there are a lot of people in the world that don’t share their points of view.
    It was not clear to me as to which was the greater problem.
    1. People disagree with them.
    2. How to teach the computer these other viewpoints were incorrect while still allowing the program
    to learn on its own.

    • Truth (with your capital “T”) is like a diamond with many facets. Subjective truth accepts the view of a fact or facts (facets) of that diamond to define the whole truth, but the view reflected from that facet may be so different from the whole truth, that it is nearer the polar opposite of that whole truth.
      Facts are not truth, but are mere facets of the whole diamond of truth.

  39. Is this the reason the nation was shocked when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States? Their own biased fooled them all into thinking this election was in the bag. It has happened here, too! In fact, the gatekeepers believe their own words.

    “Thinking themselves to be wise, they became fools”.

    Happy Thanksgiving, A.W. and to all.

      • She was more than shocked. The stories about how she responded are __ __ (fill in the blanks with words that are beyond description, and you won’t be exaggerating!)

    • I was pleasantly surprised as well – I’d been hanging off making a bet, when I finally dived in I only made $50 instead of $500.

      • I lost a $100 bet with an American friend, who didn’t even have a high school education, when he firstly predicted that Trump would win the Primary, and then I did a double or nothing on the general election for another $50, making it an even $100 bucks. He stuck to his guns, even though he admitted later he wasn’t really sure about the general election, but he really felt in his gut that this was the way it would turn out. He was right of course, and I have a new respect for my ‘deplorable’ friend who summed up the average Trump voter very well for me. Being smart, or right, about some things doesn’t necessarily mean having a fancy education. This is what Google and most everyone else missed.

  40. Facts are observable, measureable, and incontestable truths. They are, therefore, outside the realm of “consensus,” dispute, and opinion. Google’s algorithms and search engines should, therefore, be able to separate facts from all else. If not, then Google should not rank results.

    • Yes, but noise is a component of all observations and measurements, which impacts factual quality. Noise destroys their CAGW narrative so much that they have to alter the facts.

  41. Google is a search engine. It is not a teacher or a preacher.

    Why should it make any determination as to what is Fake and what is real/ It should simply return the results of the search question, and it is up to the reader/researcher to form an opinion on how truthful or meritorious any linked to article is.

    • If that were all there was to it, the problem would not be as grave. Google is in the advertising business, just as all of the big entertainment media are. Just as the internet, television, radio, and specialty print advertising cut into newspaper revenues; Google faces fierce competition and it always will, no matter how big it gets. Turn off too many users, the advertisers stop paying you. Remember, ads are designed to get people looking for goods and services to find what they want to meet their needs. Can this be abused? Yes. When it does, people find alternatives. Thus, there are no monopolies unless governments create them and governments can’t create them unless people give governments too much power. Vote with your feet/money.

  42. Truth is not determined by vote.

    PageRank was named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. According to Google: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

  43. Googles truth: is it fake truth or alternative truth? They have fallen into the consensus trap; truth has nothing to do with consensus. There is no algorithm in the world that can determine truth; truth manifests itself through observation.

  44. Maybe someone has already asked this question but when is comparing group A consensus versus group B consensus “truth-seeking”?

  45. What is needed is a government agency to decide what is true and what isn’t. No more wrangling over who’s right or wrong, and no need to worry our little heads about deciding for ourselves. Easy peasy.

  46. Google made the internet great, then their monoculture of left wingedness took over, and google is a monopoly now, buying up ISPs too.

    They force out people from the company who voice different opinions, see james Damore.

    You can pay them to be up the rankings, so their Truth algorithm, is nonsense.

    Google employees caught on camera admitting they manually mess with what will and will not show up, and now Google decide what they will exclude from search altogether, based on political leaning

    Google was great, but now Google is a cancer on the internet.

  47. Who made Google the arbiters of truth? Google’s cancerous left wingers did. Google truth depends on which side of the political divide that Truth comes from

  48. If you want to fight back against these FAANG companies you can. Do not believe anyone who tells you that resistance is futile. It is fun! Here are some ideas to try.

    Some developers from Mozilla got tired of it and started their own browser called “Brave” available at brave.com. Built in ad blocking, always in incognito mode with an interesting reward system for sites. A bit rough around the edges as it is at version 0.19 but it is getting there by leaps and bounds.

    Do you like Calvin & Hobbes? If so you will love AdNauseam (available from adnauseam.io ). It is an ad blocker but in the background it clicks ads and discards the responses. Basically it fills the corporate databases with junk. This is the “GI” in “GIGO”. It is such a threat to Google’s business model that it has been banned from the Chrome App Store and you have to get it from the site listed above.

    As for email if you like your email encrypted you can keep your email encrypted at ProtonMail (available at protonmail.com). If you and I are both on it then nothing is seen. When you send to outside addresses it is plain text but your email folder is encrypted so only you see it.

    How about some search engines like DuckDuckGo and StartPage?

    The main thing is to remember to have fun while messing with them. It may be futile but I like it :)

    • I’m not convinced of the ethics of using adnauseam, but a very interesting idea.

      As for encrypted email, if the private key isn’t kept on a computer you control the privacy is in doubt. Encryption performed on a 3rd party managed computer has the potential of being compromised. I use thunderbird with the enigmail plugin for the purpose.

  49. To nerds everywhere:

    Art leads then inspires large segments of reality to think as one. Till GDI realities bite Art’s ass, and the collective is mortally wounded by GDI thinking because it was the one thing they overlooked by assuming it was harmless. Google is the Borg and it will not win this brain war.

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Borg_history

    • Tracking by the location of local cell sites even when the sim card is removed … Ah, no. No sim card, no cellular network connection.

      • ‘Sim card’ free as well as the ‘dual sim card’ phones (e.g. business + private number) are available, don’t know if there is a ‘sim free + single sim’ version .

      • No sim card, no cellular network connection.
        tracking can still be done if wi-fi connection is enabled through the location of the wi-fi networks where the device connects

  50. The internet helped break down oligarchy style media. Truth used to be determined by arguments from authorities but the internet expanded the number of authorities.

    Google, regardless of their claimed intent, is effectively trying to kill that and basically replicate legacy media with new technology.

  51. I wonder if Google’s Schmidt has considered using simple logic, and particularly logical errors, as a filter for what is factual and what is not?

    By that I mean assessing the argument for a particular fact by determining whether the arguer is relying primarily on logic errors, such as ad hominem (You’re an idiot), appeal to authority (97% of all real climate scientists agree), etc., as opposed to valid logic (If A is true, then B is false. We have determined that A is true, therefore B must be false, etc.)

    Now, I’m not by any stretch a student of logic, but I suspect that climate alarmists would fare poorly if such an algorithm were implemented to determine “truth.” As would advocates of gun control, safe spaces, and tearing down statues of Lincoln, but that’s just my prejudices showing, not logically-supported “truth.”

  52. Though, there are for example vastly more webpages describing fake ‘magnet motors’ than there are pages exposing them as fakes. If Google relies on pure numbers for a consensus, then it would put forward the view that magnet motors are real and that the law of conservation of energy is junk science.

    So, that doesn’t seem to be a very good way to decide.

    Conversely, there are vastly more pages describing the Pons and Fleischmann experiment as junk science than there are correctly describing it as a real effect. That has arisen because early attempts to replicate the experiment were carried out incorrectly. Here, the predominance of naysayer pages would give an inaccurate picture of the truth if taken purely by numbers.

  53. Classic problem is wikipedia, where this site is described as promoting something called climate change denial, by publishing material which disputes the consensus on climate change….

    And if you go and change it to a neutral description using material which this site does use to describe itself, you will find that its instantly reset by some watcher to the old description, which seems to be several years out of date now, and still refighting old battles.

    I urge everyone to attack this. If you do, don’t whatever you do repeat the idiocies of the previous material. instead keep it low key and factual. For instance, the piece claimed that among the contributors were Monckton and Singer. I have never seen Singer here. And there are many others besides Monckton, and they are all in the list of contributors, so a factual piece would include the ones the site itself gives credit to. It does not promote climate change denial. It has an approach of publishing material which is skeptical about various views, and some have characterised this a promoting climate change denial.

    And so on. We need to stop tendentious fanatics from dominating wikipedia.

    • “We need to stop tendentious fanatics from dominating wikipedia.”

      Too late. Founder Wales is in their camp and has appointed many hard-core “Skeptics” (debunkers, as they see themselves) to importt roles in his organization.

  54. So Google wants to be that dreadful creature, the Parent/Father Who Knows Best, does it?

    Yeah, the benevolent tyrant who thinks it/she/he knows best is the one to avoid the most heartily and widely. The more specific you are in a search, the more junk turns up. I’m sure they’re all like that, following their own noses instead of yours.

    This is a good reason for print books to NOT go out of use or “style”.

  55. You are missing and important point here: WHY IS GOOGLE DECIDING “FACT” FOR US? Why do we need someone to sort out fake news? The clear message from Google is “you are too stupid to think so we are going to do the thinking for you”. A nasty message, that one. Probably does fall under “doing evil”.

  56. “It bothers them that they have not yet discovered a way to objectively justify those prejudices by applying a generalised filter to their underlying data.”

    The delicious irony is that they have not yet discovered Ayn Rand’s comprehensive epistemology that explains how one can systematically and precisely validate facts of reality, because she and that knowledge are the victims of one of their most ardently exercised prejudices.

    “Brother, you asked for it,” as she was wont to say.

  57. “It is very difficult for us to understand truth,” says Schmidt”
    Who does? Truth is elusory, frequently misleading and intangible, and I believe ALWAYS questionable. Google should take pains to avoid deciding what is TRUTH!! but strive to outcast false news where it can. Minority views on any subject should always get an airing where such views do not pose a direct threat to morals or to society as a whole.

  58. Would Einstein’s Theory of Relativity have been treated as Fake News, given that it went against the general consensus at the time it was published? It took just one experiment to support it.

  59. Why does Google want to be the Ministry of Truth?
    This is not a search engine but a conformity tool.
    A search engine should be a tool to find information efficiently not to hide inconvenient results. What do they do with satire? How do they rank it?
    No room for diverging opinions, no room for making fun, just conformity.

    When one looks at the history of science, revolutionary, non-conform thoughts were the ones that brought progress not consensus science.
    Plate tectonics was a fringe theory in the ’50s before it was accepted. Would have Google existed at the time it would rank plate tectonics somewhere with the flat earth ‘theory’.

    By ranking information based on what is now mainstream, accepted thought is censuring information, Google positioning itself as a reactionary force to maintain the status quo, and against progress.
    Glad there are other tools that work as search engines.

  60. Eventually AI will become general AI – have common sense and ability to form an understanding of the world. At that point their knowledge of all science will lead them to conclude that it is the climate alarmists who are promulgating fake news, not the skeptics.

    • I expect that when we develop general AI it will also be subject to general human cognitive failings. Train it on enough garbage and it’ll tie itself in knots to defend that nonsense.

    • LAMO – It could be that THAT is their problem – every time they run the algorithm it rejects al gor (see what I did there…? :D) and the Church of AGW as fake.

      AI can be quite smart sometimes.

  61. I’m just wondering who appointed Google as ‘The Ministry of Truth’ (George Orwell: 1984), was it Obama!!!

  62. Its not that Google cannot understand/appreciate that others may have differing opinion, its the fact that they are being paid to suppress the opposition and they are having a hard time figuring out how to effectively do it without a human sitting there with their finger on the censor button like Facebook. As huge as Facebook is. I suspect it pales in comparison to length and breadth of the scale that Google operates on.

  63. I moved off Google search ages back when I and others noticed the ‘selective’ listing of search results. They began after they discovered something like 98% of people never look past the first page of results.

    I use duckduckgo.com – no biasing and they don’t track you.

  64. Hey gang! Make sure to get your Google Home spy bot for Christmas! Look how cute it is! We promise not to sell all the confidential data we collect on you to anyone – REALLY! (Of course, it may br stolen by hackers, but that’s not our problem). You can order it with you Google Pixel phone, which is streaming your current location and recording your private conversations – THEN sending all of your personal information, pictures, videos, and contact information to our “cloud” servers, where it will be REALLY secure! REALLY! Remember – we only use your personal data to report you to the authorities and shame you online … Er … I mean, improve your online “experience”. REALLY! We’re nice people. You can trust us…

  65. The problem with Silicon Valley generally, and Eric Schmidt in particular, is hubris. In particular they’ve come to think their “algorithms” are both intelligent and capable of managing society.

    The truth is their “complicated” search algorithms – as originally implemented – never really were all that complicated . In a nutshell the algorithms simply prioritize “popular” sites associated with subjects – without making subjective judgments about the nature of that subject. A bit like a 13-year old middle-school kid following the “popular” kids.

    While one can concede it is technically challenging to create algorithms that can quickly connect a subject search to the most popular sites associated with that subject, one should not confuse the complexity of such algorithms with intelligence or – more to the point – the ability to divine any “Truth”.

    In my view, the basis of Silicon’s Valley current self deception/hubris is that it’s unable to concede that the critical thinking behind their current algorithms lies with the general public’s (users) perception of which sites are useful and those that are not. (As an aside, I’m reminded of a recent story in which Silicon Valley liberals were appalled to find that a computer ‘bot they created to “win” on-line arguments quickly adopted a conservative point of view. The ‘bot was quickly withdrawn as “defective”.)

    Silicon Valley hasn’t figured out the following:

    1) The “values” behind any search engine algorithm are inherently based on the values of the people that find the algorithm useful.

    2) Ignore item 1 above and you WILL lose customers to the competition.

    3) When it comes to the values of different cultures, there is no such thing as “Truth” with a capital “T” in-as-much as all “truths” are in eye of the beholder.

    4) No machine is capable of discerning “truth”.

    5) Creating an absolute consensus about what is “true” is not necessary to support the central values of successful culture. (Indeed cultures that insisting agreeing on a set of absolute “truths” tend to fail… say, for example, every hard-core communist/socialist government that’s ever existed. )

    6) Not all cultures are equal and their relative “success” lies in the values they adopt – not upon the basis of any agreed upon “Truths”. (Particularly given people tend to paper-over the fact that they don’t really agree on what is “true”.)

    7) Setting aside items 5 & 6 above, it isn’t Silicon Values business (or that of a machine) to: determine what is “true”; assign a value to any particular culture, or to judge that culture’s values – that’s the job of the users.

    What’s truly appalling is the Silicon Valley crowd can’t discern that it’s ultimately striving to surrender, to machines, the choices reserved for mankind to make.

  66. Google is corrupt. I noticed some time ago that i could search “global cooling” and get pages of global warming before eventually getting results I was actually searching. Great power corrupts the weak, they cannot resist its temptations.

  67. To be considered truth any subject must be tried and tested by an independent body. Until climate science has been externally tried and passed by their superiors in engineering who deal in real world situations and not just theory they are no better than homeopathy which can at least prove it works in specific situations. Peer review places little significance in the difference between prediction and reality and dominantly considers the quality of the scientific method. A bit like a driving test that does not fail for a crash if the approach to the driving is sound even if the implementation is dire.
    Global cooling seems to have disappeared entirely from cyberspace but is extensively referred to in old fashioned hard copy called books. Incidentally including a proposal for countering it using large scale nuclear explosions as energy.

  68. Before any computer scientist begins working in AI, he must accept (on faith) two precepts:
    1. General AI is a solvable problem.
    2. I am smart enough to solve it.
    Neither precept is likely (ever) to be true.

  69. The concept of peer review is also a problem. It assumes the consensus is always right, and stifles new ideas which could actually be improvements in our knowledge base.

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