Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Amazon Won’t Get Off So Easily

Don’t blame the French! That’s what Silicon Valley veteran technologist Mary Hodder explains on TechCrunch. In a guest-blog-style posting, she tells us why online bookseller Amazon are probably being big, fat liars when they tried to tell shocked booklovers that their #Amazonfail fiasco of last weekend was a “glitch”:
The issue with #AmazonFail isn’t that a French Employee pressed the wrong button or could affect the system by changing “false” to “true” in filtering certain “adult” classified items, it’s that Amazon’s system has assumptions such as: sexual orientation is part of “adult”. And “gay” is part of “adult.” In other words, #AmazonFail is about the subconscious assumptions of people built into algorithms and classification that contain discriminatory ideas. When other employees use the system, whether they themselves agree with the underlying assumptions of the algorithms and classification system, or even realize the system has these point’s of view built in, they can put those assumptions into force, as the Amazon France Employee apparently did according to Amazon.
There’s a lot more, of course. As well, there’s a very entertaining exchange of comments that argues for and against Hodder’s arguments. You can find all of that here.



Post a Comment

<< Home