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Gary Marcus on making the web more like the human brain: Google Knowledge Graph | The New Yorker -
May 24, 2012
"Google’s algorithm doesn’t know a thing about doubled letters, transpositions, or the psychology of how humans type or spell, only what people tend to type after they make an error. The lesson, it seemed, was that with a big enough database and fast enough computers, human problems could be solved without much insight into the particulars of the human mind. (...) To deal with the “Paris” problem, Google Knowledge Search revives an idea first developed in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, known as semantic networks, that was a first guess at how the human mind might encode information in the brain. In place of simple associations between words, these networks encode relationships between unique entities. Paris the place and Paris the person get different unique I.D.s—sort of like bar codes or Social Security numbers—and simple associations are replaced by (or supplemented by) annotated taxonomies that encode relationships between entities. So, “Paris1” (the city) is connected to the Eiffel tower by a “contains” relationship, while “Paris2” (the person) is connected to various reality shows by a “cancelled” relationship. As all the places, persons, and relationships get connected to each other, these networks start to resemble vast spiderwebs. In essence, Google is now attempting to reshape the Internet and provide its spiders with a smarter Web to crawl." -
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