AI, finding information, and surviving

There is a vast amount of hype surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications. And there are valid concerns about the use of AI and its negative impact on our society. Like the long lineage of communication technologies that have preceded AI, human beings will use it–some for good (or at least with good intentions) and some to further crime, greed, corruption, and to gain…

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Facial recognition technology: privacy and political orientation

There is growing concern that the widespread use of facial recognition technology has led and will lead to the decline of privacy and civil liberties. CCTV cameras and huge databases of facial images–taken from sources such as social media and ID card registers–make it easy to identify individuals as well as track their movements and social interactions. Plus, “facial recognition can be used without subjects’…

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Algorithms, part 2: impact on searching and finding academic information

Algorithms are literally everywhere in the digital environment. The databases, sources, and systems you use at a college or university or high school are not immune. They use algorithms as well. At a basic level, algorithms can help with searching, sorting, pattern matching, and more. An algorithm impacts how the search is done/interpreted and what records from a database are brought forward in response and…

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Content and source evaluation: the most important thing you do in any search for information

For more information, see — Evaluation Algorithms: what are they? What can they do? The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why. (Karen Hao, MIT Technology Review, October 5, 2021) How and why does false information spread online? (sources) Do you think that you don’t need to look out for misleading or false information when searching for academic sources? Think again. See —…

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Algorithms: what are they? What can they do?

At its most basic, an algorithm is a procedure to solve a problem. A computer program can be a procedure to solve a problem expressed in a computer language. On many social media and digital commerce sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and on and on), algorithms control how users experience the sites–what they see, the options they are offered, who they communicate…

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