Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Monday, December 20, 2010

metadata and our discontents

See that? Huge spike on the word "internet" in . . . 1903. Natalie Binder explains why Google's really bad metadata is going to limit the usefulness of the word-hoard it is assembling.
But hey: it's going to get better.


  • Says Natalie:

    "Computers can’t sound out words. Computers can’t correct typos. Computers don’t know the difference between “rn” and “m,” or a chapter heading and the main text. Computers don’t understand context.

    A passage from another few years ago, wondering about using algorithms to parse culture:

    "If what I’ve learned from Matt [Cutts] and Danny [Sullivan] and others is correct, robots are decidedly unimpresses by nearly every aspect of language I adore. Robots don’t care about alliteration, simile or metaphor. Robots don’t subvocalize when they read.

    Robots don’t cringe at puns. Robots can’t appreciate a well turned phrase. Robots might write poetry, but they don’t read it. They don’t appreciate music, and they don’t appreciate the musicality of words lined up just so.

    I am writing for robots, and I hate it.

    Thank God I don’t have to make movies for them."

    Hammer, nail, you know the rest.

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