Friday, December 03, 2004

Humans 1, Computers 0

Jonathan Dube's headline, "Why human editors matter," says it all.

Seems that Google News' computers pulled an article from a parody site about President Bush's "arrest" in Canada and displayed it as real news. Here's the screen shot. Even a dim-bulb editor, on the other hand, would likely have gone "just wait a second ..."

And as Dube notes, Google's computers have this annoying habit of laying things out so that a photo from one story looks as though it goes with another -- in the case Dube cites, the photo of a columnist that looks as though it goes with a story about a gynecologist accused of molesting women. (The columnist's photo promoting his column was on the same page as the gynecologist story, but not as it is displayed on the Goog.) Admittedly, I've got a file full of similar problems created by humans, but I like the odds better with a human editor in charge.


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