Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is the Semantic Web Biased?

Someone getting in the way of Tim finally achieving the semantic web.
Will The Semantic Web have a Gender?

But seriously, Corinna Bath has great points about the attempt to 'simplify' the world into semantic goodness effectively disenfranchising those not involved directly (developing nations, alternate cultures, Women, Art majors ;) ).

Also she has very good points about the accuracy, subjectivity, fuzziness and temporal relevance of knowledge (details about a celebrity indiscretion has one meaning for those reading about the event the next day and an entirely different one two years later in a war zone).

It is very important that our tools do not close out possibilities, ideas and more importantly individuals from our society as our tech tools increasingly become the place we live our entire lives.

From the interview with Corinna Bath at the Semantic Web Company

Another class of gendering processes is based on gender stereotypes and the existing division of labour. In these cases, binary assumptions about women and men are not reflected or the (gender) politics of domain is ignored. Thus, the existing structural-symbolic gender order is inscribed into computational artefacts and will be reproduced by use. Furthermore, gendering is enforced by de-contextualisation, naturalization, the use of dichotomies and naïve realism. By abstraction, classification and formalization the two problems of incorporating diversity (or differences) and rupturing the reproduction of gender inequality in artefacts shift to the level of epistemology and ontology on which technological concepts are based.

Whew, I think I parsed that correctly, I had to verify my understanding of some of the big words, and I provided handy references for the lazy.

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