Marshall Sponder

Generate Your Insight

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Shawn Hessinger
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Journalists & Bloggers of the World Unite!
Shawn Hessinger   1/13/2012 1:32:26 PM
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Uh oh, Marshall! As a blogger and former newspaper journalist, I don't like the sound of this! :) Of course, there is a difference between curating content and creating it and then between creating standard content based on readily available information and specialized, idiosyncratic, opinionated content that makes up the best commentary. My suspicion is that the human desire for self-expression will keep humans writing but perhaps much of the drudge work involved in simple regurgitation of facts will be gone. The mechanization of yet another human function may also cause unsuspected problems. Those information outlets that have survived the collapse of the large scale media--think of sources as disparate as Fox News and The Onion--do so specifically because their content is stylized, opinionated and, in many cases, bias. So could unbiased insight ruin a business model?   

BethSchultz
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Re: Journalists & Bloggers of the World Unite!
BethSchultz   1/13/2012 3:45:59 PM
@Shawn, you ask, "Could unbiased insight ruin a business model?" I hope not. Isn't that what business analytics is all about -- delivering facts for corporate decision-making? There's no bias in a factual bit of data.

  

BethSchultz
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Alas! Me Literature Prof Turns in His Grave
BethSchultz   1/13/2012 3:49:52 PM
@Marshall, of all the many interesting things I've learned in the six months since launching AllAnalytics.com the fact that the classic Shakespearian tragedy Othello is actually a comedy has got to be one the best. Brit Lit teachers around the globe must be flummoxed. 

 

webmetricsguru
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Re: Alas! Me Literature Prof Turns in His Grave
webmetricsguru   1/13/2012 4:03:18 PM
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Have to admit - as much as I like England, and go there often, in fact, in 10 days - I can't say I can read Shakespeae all that well.  I'm glad someone figured out how to tell Othello was a comedy vs. tradegy, as it would probably never have been me.  Ha!

webmetricsguru
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Re: Journalists & Bloggers of the World Unite!
webmetricsguru   1/13/2012 4:06:28 PM
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I suppose so, Shawn - I don't think machines can replace humans - but I do think they can gather a lot of the information for us and prepare it so we can process it, in only the way a human can, faster than otherwise.

Yes, of course, there are tradeoffs in that we might miss things we'd find otherwise, as the bots failed to pick them up, or just the reverese, have a bunch of junk to look at and summerize.   And then, we're back to square one.

In fact, if machine intelligence can't make this job much easier (to gather and curate information) we're better off not using it at all.

Shawn Hessinger
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Re: Journalists & Bloggers of the World Unite!
Shawn Hessinger   1/13/2012 11:12:40 PM
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Hi Beth,

To clarify, Marshall first described how:

Kris Hammond, one of the founders and CTO of Narrative Science, a company working on technologies to generate narratives from data, thinks in 15 years, 90 percent of the news stories will be computer generated,

Further, he explains that:

In early December 2011, a computer-generated news portal called The Wall launched, analyzing and displaying real-time local Twitter trends while automatically clustering the information into news topics.

Marshall says that:

On closer examination, I found each clustered news story ends up linking to one or more actual newspaper stories written by a human reporter. So, while perhaps human bias is not eliminated, the selection of stories appears to be automatic.

I would submit that, in some cases, the "bias" we are describing here is an individuality and point of view that cannot be replaced by technology and actually causes us to choose or accept one source of information over another or, more precisely, to choose one bit of information as more relevant to us personally than another.   

Shawn Hessinger
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Re: Journalists & Bloggers of the World Unite!
Shawn Hessinger   1/13/2012 11:24:29 PM
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Hi Marshall,

Actually, I see some serious advantages in the automation and aggregation of news and information that has freed up the flow of data and the power that access to that data has given common people in their daily lives. This is especially true when that technology uses a means that allows those consuming that data to choose the information they find most relevant and helpful outside of the control of an outdated and hierarchical information system. I just think that the human element here is critical and cannot be ignored as a partner with the technology used to help manage that data more efficiently. 

Shawn Hessinger
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Re: Alas! Me Literature Prof Turns in His Grave
Shawn Hessinger   1/13/2012 11:54:14 PM
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Hi Marshall,

Alas, there's the rub, as the Bard himself might say. Othello, of course, was not a comedy, but the playwright used words and phrases associated with comedy for effect. Would our algorithm have known the difference without human interpretation to guide and interpret its results?

webmetricsguru
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Re: Journalists & Bloggers of the World Unite!
webmetricsguru   1/14/2012 1:02:11 AM
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I think we're saying the same thing - there re advantages and disadvantages to new technologies.

webmetricsguru
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Re: Alas! Me Literature Prof Turns in His Grave
webmetricsguru   1/14/2012 1:07:19 AM
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I think the article I got that information from also stated the common defination of a tradegy and comedy in Shakespere's time was somewhat different than what we think of those genres, today.   

So there's a few parts to this theme -

    - we, in our time, have relabeled and redefined what Shakespere meant - not alwyas accurately.

 

    - also, the software went back and tried to uncover the real genre of Othello, and found it was a comedy - as defined in Shakesphere's time period and local, not ours.

 

Think of it this way - you have an old silver jug, it's all rusty, and you think the rust is part of the design - but then you put some silver cleaner on it- and it looks all new and shiny - and all of a sudden,  like a different piece than what you thought of it originally - that is what software mentioned in my article did for Othello.

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