The idiot algorithm

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The idiot algorithm

The idiot algorithm at work

That algorithms do not understand context, nor are they capable of detecting nuances, much less understanding irony, sarcasm or any humorous interpretation, fiction or intention beyond the textual, is something we already know.

What is less understandable is that social networks continue to use a list of words in bulk to supposedly combat hoaxes and misinformation. A lot of talk about Big Data and Artificial Intelligence and so on and so forth, and in the end they opt for the most primitive sloppiness.

On Twitter, it is enough to write a joke that includes “I kill you”, only “kill” or derivatives that include the verb to get your account shut down for a few days if you don’t delete the joke. At least until you can prove to the human on duty in charge of such matters that you are not a self-confessed murderer.

Today it was the cartoonist’s turn Clay Bennet, but it happens every day with thousands of posts that end up flagged creating a meta joke. As I read a lot of vignettes every day, I assure you that it’s a rare week that I don’t come across one with the poster.

They’re not supposed to, or they shouldn’t, but that’s what they seem hell bent on making us believe.

In case anyone in Twitter’s Department of Absurd Warnings Posters is still having trouble getting the joke, it’s a critique of some misguided people’s use of the ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus.

The box simulates a real COVID -19 drug and from inside peeks a bottle labelled “Genuine Snake Oil”.

Dubious, fraudulent and dishonest: these are words often used when someone accuses another of selling “snake oil”. A “snake-oil salesman” is a term used to describe swindlers, swindlers or peddlers of low-value goods. Infact, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines snake oil as:

“Any of various substances or mixtures sold (as by a traveling medicine show) as medicine usually without regard to their medical worth or properties.” (Source)

 
   
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