Algorithms vs. Humans

There’s an increasing trend I’ve been noticing out here on the net: a growing army of jabbering zombies regurgitating the same slavish uncritical adoration of Google. This level of uncritically always makes me a bit uneasy. Finally I’ve come across a refreshingly different take on Google. Perhaps the great Google might end up being more like the Great Oz. I especially like:

On the Network, The power of people will kick the backside out of algorithms. While computer sciencey solutions are almost always gameable, communities are equally almost always resilient, adaptive, and intelligent.

Philosophically its a very compelling position. Indeed algorithms can necessarily only deal in data (dead letters so to speak). Meanwhile human communities share information, knowledge, wisdom and surprisingly little data. Admittedly wiki’s are not exactly communities of people, their content is socially created and cultivated–no algorithms.

This could explain some of my own personal experience. After reading this I realized that I’m using Google less and less frequently, in favour of Wikipedia. If I need to know something, Wikipedia is now the first place I turn. I still use Google to help me find websites, but for information or knowledge Wikipedia is my engine of choice.

Here is a visualization of the self-correcting/self-healing properties of social information software like wikipedia. I found this by following a link from’s october 12th posting

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