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[- More innocent algorithms
By Aileen, Section Filter It Yourself!
Posted on Mon Jul 14th, 2003 at 01:26:59 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
Filtered through: Amazement that people are still trying this.

An article appeared a few days ago in the Boston Globe about experiments conducted by a group of computer scientists to determine the gender of the author of a text based on the style of writing. What is supposedly different this time is that this group of scientists "is the first to create an actual prediction machine".One of the co-authors of the study claims, "Hey-I'm just reporting the numbers."


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When I read in the article that "women are far more likely than men to use personal pronouns", I checked the date again, thinking this must be at least ten years old. It appears, however, that while technology has been further developed, refined and expanded, making this "artificial intelligence sorting algorithm" possible now, the questions are the same old ones that were not very useful before. What is the point of developing a sophisticated tool using artificial intelligence only to apply it to a meaningless question like "How do women and men communicate differently?"

There must be far more interesting categories of difference to explore. Why not "people with clear vision vs. people with poor eyesight", for example? Surely those who can take in their broader surroundings at a glance have a different mental view of the world than those of us who have to work harder to make sense of the blur that surrounds us. There must be countless other distinctions more interesting than the old "male/female" dichotomy, aren't there?

(Hint: the question mark at the end of the last sentence indicates that I belong to the category "female" - isn't that informative?)

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