Clay Shirky in today’s Observer – his thoughts on algorithms

I spoke to Clay Shirky recently for a piece on Journalism.co.uk. His comments provoked a few questions about web democracy, and what exactly he had meant when using the Change.gov illustration. One of his answers in today’s Observer ‘This Much I Know’ feature looks at that example again.

“Algorithms dont do a good job of detecting their own flaws. A perfect example is Obama’s change.com [sic*] site asking what priorities the administration should be concentrating on and – in a time of banking sector meltdown and two wars – an interest group pushes medical marijuana to number one. The question is: where do you put the over-ride switch and who runs it?”

* Presumably change.gov… Change.com seems to be an underwear site. Update: the online article has now been corrected after a Tweet to @jackschofield – it hadn’t been possible to leave a comment underneath it.

From: ‘This much I know: Clay Shirky, Technology guru, 44, London’, Observer 15/02/09.

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