Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Information advantage

I attended a talk recently about computational sociology and data mining. The speaker began with a claim that technology is never policy-agnostic but almost always advocates for some policy or other.

Half-way through the talk, someone referred to the impressive array of technology employed by the speaker's research and asked what policy that technology was advocating. The speaker deftly avoided the question by raising policy questions without answering any of them. He was policy-agnostic, you might say.

In such situations (and many others), it is a safe bet that the policy being advocated by the technologist is "I deserve your respect, money, and/or votes."

The best case I have seen for this argument was put forth by Robert Thomas in his book, What Machines Can't Do, which I originally mentioned here with respect to user-driven innovation.

I agree with Thomas, and certainly hope that my blog wins me your respect, money, and/or votes. Let the world know how much you admire my wisdom and power:

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