We are looking into developing a local search engine using Solr.
One of the primary goals of this search engine will be to provide a counter narrative to Google. This narrative will incorporate an argument provided by Michael Thomsen:
The lack of diversity at Google has… to do with the company’s core structure, which would remain bluntly antagonistic toward behavioral and political diversity….
[Google’s] PageRank obscures diversity, burying the full and often incoherent spectrum of possible answers to a question inside a nested sequence of mathematical prejudices. Ironically, PageRank worked far better than any other search technology before it, making Google’s business of improving search a matter of cultivating dramatically persuasive prejudices. People wanted answers, not protrusions of debate and uncertainty, and Google made money creating an artificial frame to give it to them.
Also when addressing companies such as Google, we need to consider a number of points made by Douglas Rushkoff in his article “Google Sees No Evil:”
When we develop technology in a vacuum, disconnected from the reality in which people really live, we are too likely to spend our energy designing some abstract vision of a future life rather than addressing the pains and injustices around us right now. Technology becomes a way of escaping the world’s problems, whether through virtual reality or massive Silicon Valley stock options packages, rather than engaging with them.
But the don’t-do-evil mandate doesn’t even ask Google’s programmers to evaluate the purpose of a technology — only to perform a basic “checksum,” or error correction, for evil itself. How pathetically binary. This is not enough for a company that appears dedicated to uploading human consciousness to the cloud, no matter how many robot warriors we have protecting our virtual reality servers from the people we leave behind.
I’m not arguing against technology or that we do less with it. Quite the contrary. I’m arguing we do more. It’s not enough to computerize and digitize the society we have, and exacerbate its problems by new means. We must transcend the mere avoidance of the patently evil and instead seek to do good. That may involve actually overturning and remaking some institutions and processes from the ground up.
According to a Business Insider article “Dr. Dre Earned More In 2014 Than Any Entertainment Star On Record:”
[$620 million is] the amount the rapper-producer-entrepreneur earned before taxes in 2014, according to Forbes, which crowned Dr. Dre the “Hip-Hop Cash King.” His earnings represent the highest annual total for any entertainer ever evaluated by Forbes.
In fact, that figure is more than the combined earnings of everyone else on Forbes’ annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, which includes P Diddy and Jay Z, tied at the No. 2 spot ($60 million); Drake at No. 4 ($33 million); and DJ Khaled at No. 20 ($7 million).
With our search engine, we will also be looking to address the fact that the standard research techniques of corporate America are cheating us of many great experiences. Malcolm Gladwell describes this as the “Kenna problem:”
If I ask you why you think what you think, can I trust your answer?
This process [of standard market research] is fundamentally flawed. It is completely screwed. We totally overrate the significance of what we find out when we go through this kind of formal process and the consequence of that overreliance on this system is that we are cheating ourselves of all kinds of wonderful experiences that we would otherwise have [such as Kenna].
About 10 years ago, I developed a local entertainment television show called Live From VA that interviewed such guests as: Academy Award winner Mo’Nique, Russell Simmons & Rev Run, Kanye West, Pharell Willams & Chad Hugo (the Neptunes), and Katt Williams. The underlying idea for the television show was to develop a tech company based on the strengths of African-Americans, for example music. Considering the recent $3 billion sale of Beats By Dr. Dre to Apple, maybe there is something to this basic philosophy.
With the help of Skymind, we will be using deep learning techniques for developing music artists. From the Wired article, “The Mission to Bring Google’s AI to the Rest of the World:”
[D]eep learning… seeks to remake computing by more closely mimicking the way the human brain processes information, giving machines more power to “learn” as time goes on.
The technology has so much promise, it has sparked a kind of arms race among the giants of tech. Google and Facebook recently hired the two academics who originally laid out the concepts behind deep learning, and earlier this month, Chinese search giant Baidu followed suit when it snapped up another academic at the heart of the movement. But Adam Gibson, an independent software engineer based in San Francisco, doesn’t want this new technology locked inside the biggest names on the net. He believes deep learning techniques should be available to any website, company, or developer interested in using them. And that’s why he’s launching a new startup called Skymind.
Noam Chomsky in “What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream” wrote:
If you’ve read George Orwell’s Animal Farm which he wrote in the mid-1940s, it was a satire on the Soviet Union, a totalitarian state. It was a big hit. Everybody loved it. Turns out he wrote an introduction to Animal Farm which was suppressed. It only appeared 30 years later. Someone had found it in his papers. The introduction to Animal Farmwas about “Literary Censorship in England” and what it says is that obviously this book is ridiculing the Soviet Union and its totalitarian structure. But he said England is not all that different. We don’t have the KGB on our neck, but the end result comes out pretty much the same. People who have independent ideas or who think the wrong kind of thoughts are cut out.
He talks a little, only two sentences, about the institutional structure. He asks, why does this happen? Well, one, because the press is owned by wealthy people who only want certain things to reach the public. The other thing he says is that when you go through the elite education system, when you go through the proper schools in Oxford, you learn that there are certain things it’s not proper to say and there are certain thoughts that are not proper to have. That is the socialization role of elite institutions and if you don’t adapt to that, you’re usually out. Those two sentences more or less tell the story.
Six media giants control 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to (see below). This has a profound effect on the music that we get to hear. According to a Future of Music Coalition press release Rich Bengloff, President, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) is quoted as saying:
Independent music accounts for approximately 38 percent of digital sales in the U.S. and over 40 percent of audience impressions at internet radio but consistently receives only slightly more than 10 percent of traditional commercial radio airplay. It’s obvious that music fans want independent music, and commercial radio programmers continue to ignore that demand at their own peril.
In addition to mostly playing music from major labels, radio stations in the United States do not compensate performers when their songs are played on the radio. Very few countries do not compensate performers for radio airplay. In addition to the U.S., there is North Korea, Iran, and China.
WE NEED SOMETHING MORE!