Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Information Retrieval & Algorithmic Search vs Visual Design & Brute Force

Yesterday I posted some feedback about recent changes in WordPress Reader (see “WordPress.COM Reader Design Feedback (about Featured Image & information usability)” [ search.tech.blog/2022/10/15/wordpress-com-reader-design-feedback-about-featured-image-information-usability ] ). My own feedback comes from my own reading habits, which are very text-based and also oriented towards natural language search (including algorithmic information retrieval) technology. I realize that most people generally seem to lack such literacy skills (or they are very rudimentary and relatively unskilled).

On the other hand, many people seem to be much more visually oriented than I am. I have little doubt that in the long run algorithmic natural language-based information retrieval methods will be much more efficient (and therefore sustainable) than the more “brute force” methods involving very intense information processing and very large files (and exorbitant amounts of data processing & data transfer) such as the visual data contained in image files. The only thing I am somewhat uncertain about in this regard is whether that long run will arrive while I am still alive.

Today, in “popular” media such as Google (and YouTube), Facebook (and Instagram and Whatsapp) and Tiktok, teenagers with only limited literacy skills are bathed in inordinate amounts of visual data. While in the long run the cost-benefit ratio is quite obviously far too high, in the short run these teenagers can be sold to large numbers of (for the most part) equally illiterate marketers (who do not yet realize how worthless these followers, bots and whatnot are). As George Carlin (in one of his last famous appearances) said: “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it” (here I am alluding to the membership fee that must be paid to take part in this nonsense-media cf. “irrational media” in “Hope & Change: Flipping the F-word & Removing the Old-Fashioned R-word” [ remediary.com/2020/11/06/hope-change-flipping-the-f-word-removing-the-old-fashioned-r-word ] ).

George Carlin “American Dream”

Well, I mention this because I am sad that WordPress appears to have taken a step away from its more literate past towards a more illiterate (or at least differently literate) future. The long-run economics of this decision are obviously not sustainable, but the short-run boost to profits seem to be more influential on the people who are making these decisions.

Advertisement