A nice interview with Siva Vaidhyanathan on Spark about his new book, The Googlization of Everything. Among his many critiques, the one that really stuck with me was the narrowness of the Google algorithm. Google’s succes has depended on developing the most efficient search algorithm of the vast trove of documents on the web. But that is by no means the only, or even the best, way to interface with information. It leaves out a whole range of competing possible relationships to the activity of “querying.”
I hope in the future more artists, academics and programers will experiment with different ways of algorithmically accessing information. Rather than be drawn in by the theology of the “right” answer, I hope they will be drawn to the richness of the way human beings ask questions. Querying is about the right combination of luck and constraint, the play of chance alongside some formal structure that allows for real insight. There is no one way to question, just as there should not be one way to search algorithmically for information.