Stewardship in the “Age of Algorithms”

Clifford Lynch, First Monday, Dec 03, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Suppose we wanted to preserve the content in Facebook as it exists right now. What would it take? We might think that if we save the database, that would be sufficient. Not so, argues Clifford Lynch. Without the training data Facebook relies upon, and the algorithms that process that data to show you what you see, we haven't preserved Facebook. But this may be beyond our reach, not simply because Facebook won't release it, but because it may be impossible to capture. The best we can hope to do, maybe, is to document output, via "robotic witnesses", or "new Nielson families." These, though, would be small, labour-intensive, and partial attempts.

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