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Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

If “literature” is “the imaginative and creative writing of a language, period or culture” the blogs, new media and web pages of (so-called) social media qualifies as the new literature. One could say that online news, health and finance sites, the “e-zines” and the several hundred million web logs or blogs comprise a growing part  of the classic literature of our time.

According to a Nobel prize winner Issac Bashevis Singer– emotion and intellect are essential poles of literature.

“The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual — when it begins to ignore the passions, the motions — it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance.” –in the New York Times Magazine, November 26, 1978

It is the reason why many so-called “expert systems” and intelligent or “semantic” information systems are the way the are: they haven’t much substance. Emotional and interpersonal relevance is illogical, of course … unscientific … It explains why programmers, software developers and product engineers cannot fathom the interpersonal and social relations within the media. Search engine developers cannot capture and index human emotion.

Neither software developers nor product engineers can quantify or computationally relate the affairs of the human intellect. Logicians are not able to assign a truth value to passion, let alone determine what relations essence may enjoy or which of a myriad of ephemeral forms of matter have substance worth computing. Creating a system for indexing, searching and relating social media is not like creating an accounting system. There are no general rules of the affairs of the human imagination. It is not a membership or inventory management system and human psychology is not easily captured with traditional software engineering principles.

Therefore: No big names are researching the emotional and interpersonal structure– the powerful foundation –on which all sorts of human affairs and institutions rest. There are no big computational engineering projects designing or building parsers that can get at the emotional, perceptual and cognitive base of human reason for that would disrupt the present oligarchy.

It is the reason for the resurgence of artificial intelligence techniques in the garb of the semantic web. It is caused by an industry and academic failure: a failure to contemplate what is happening. This widespread failure is no more evident today, than in the Internet-based discussions about more intelligent and so-called “semantic search” engines.

Most of these discussions are highly charged and the noise and rampant neologism is symptomatic of the social confusion and disorder. So it is that the promise of an intelligent web and higher access to knowledge stands in binary opposition to the binds and perils of navigating the social spaces of the Internet. I even read a blog that talked about hardwiring nouns and verbs to make a semantic web.

This is the very reason why people complain about the results they get from search engines as in this recent article, and also in this article. And this video makes us think about the outcome of the superficial, artificial and logical path we are on.

Instead of supporting research and discovery we get the big search engines and major shopping destinations who form alliances to snag our attention. They are not trying to understand what we should want to know; they only want to know what we want to purchase. They vie with one another and a vast host of marketers and hucksters to be the first to offer the right price.

You can find the quote that addresses the search for “the essence of literature”only incidentally because a Nobel prize winner was quoted in a New York Times article. The only reason it shows up in the first page of a search result is because it appears on a large advertiser supported web property that is seen as an authority by the major search engines. Google supports and extends the oligarchy to all those ready and willing to pay for the use of words while claiming to do no evil.

I am pretty sure that there are plenty of authorities on “social media” if only because billions of dollars are being spent. Try searching for “the essence of social media” on Google and Yahoo. That is a kind of research-type search that could benefit from semantics. Try it on Hakia and Lexxe and PowerSet, the results are better at Hakia but still not satisfying. You can go through the entire list of alternate search engines and you will not get much better results. Speaking of Hakia, let’s look at semantic search.

While the authority at Wikipedia seems to recognize the difference between research and navigational searching, incredulously the entry for ‘semantic search‘ defines it as way of leveraging XML and RDF data from semantic networks. The ‘bark’ disambiguation example is a case in point. Do you think they might be barking up the wrong tree? It makes me wonder whether the author of this entry actually lives in the real world, having never been barked at by a boss or spouse.

I thought: Hakia obviously has a more complete semantic sense of the term “bark” than the systems cited in the ill-informed semantic search entry at Wikipedia. At Hakia I asked: “Are the democrats barking up the wrong tree?” –thinking about their plans to override the president’s veto of the bill extending the children’s health program. It turned out I was wrong. I invite you to go see for your self. The usefulness and “semantic” relevance of ad-supported search pages was characterized as well, as I captured in this clip:

Sponsored Result

There was an article that I was unable to find on any search engine. Neither the results or the sponsored links were satisfying for the big search engines or the so-called “semantic” alternates.

So that no one thinks I am just complaining and have opinions without solutions, I am beginning another article, where I will spell out a solution to the problem. In the meantime, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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