Re: [NGC4LIB] Google Ngram Results

Posting to NGC4LIB

On 13/03/2013 19:11, john g marr wrote:

Criticizing any *particular* “perps”, from Google to Islamic terrorists, is wasteful because it makes us think that getting those *particular* “perps” out of the way will solve everything.

The strategy is to *not* to be sucked into talking about specific “issues” or personalizing discussions (e.g. “Google is evil”), except as examples of a broader problem, and concentrate on the fact that specific brain structures cause specific individual behaviors. Talk about the behaviors we need to eliminate (e.g. glib speech, bullying, compulsive lying, self-obsession, emotional manipulation, absence of empathy, power and control, etc.), what causes them (as causes are discovered), and what to do about them.

I have been studying chess for my entire life, and therefore I guess I look at these matters differently. In chess, everyone wants to checkmate their opponent, but if you try to do that from the very first move, you are just setting yourself up to lose very quickly. If you really want to win, you learn that you must become much more subtle in your approach. Therefore, saying that “Google is evil” won’t work because it’s too straightforward, and besides, it’s not true. Google is just a company like any other: their purpose is to make money by giving their customers what they want. If they didn’t do that, they wouldn’t exist. So, if Google is “evil” for what they do, it is just like labeling a tiger “evil” because it eats someone. Neither is evil–the behavior is in their very natures.

So, if you want someone to stop their compulsive lying or self-obsession, the main thing you do NOT say is “Stop your compulsive lying!” or “Stop obsessing about yourself!” because of course, people will defend themselves in all kinds of ways. But there is no way they will change their behavior just because you tell them to stop. It certainly wouldn’t work if somebody said that to us.

When you look at it this way: what is the best way to go about changing someone’s behavior, to change some sort of situation, it turns out to be similar to trying to win a chess game. You must be much more subtle about it, and that is also when the entire situation become much more interesting.

I think the very first step is to provide people with an alternative view of the situation that they have always known. The example I gave: that Google users are not the real customers of Google’s products but in reality Google users are precisely what Google sells, and the result is, they are being milked like cows. That is not original with me (the cow part is, so far as I know) but is also not widely accepted at all. So, if we want people to seriously consider an alternative vision of Google (and keyword searching and social searching) it must be introduced gently.

Always the best way to convince people is to provide them with an acceptable working alternative, and the library catalog should be that tool. I think it could be that alternative, but unfortunately, the catalog is broken and nobody seems to want to fix it. It needs a complete overhaul but everyone prefers to monkey around with RDA and FRBR so that they can put their hope into “Linked Data” [heavenly chorus].

For me, I find it very difficult to conceive of a realistic way out of the difficulties we are in. Solutions exist I think, but people are focused on other goals.