Devotional No. 11

Enter the Office of Naval Research. One of its new special program announcements for 2013 identifies software algorithms as a major point of concern: It wants more robust logic tools play nicely across hardware and software platforms, pre-assembling a mosaic of threats. Don’t bother writing them better search tools for sifting through their data archives: The Navy expressly rules that out. It wants the imaging equipment of pre-cut vegetables in a salad bag.

via Navy Wants You to Write Algorithms That Automatically ID Threats | Danger Room | Wired.com.

And so, while programming experts still write the step-by-step instructions of computer code, additional people are needed to make more subtle contributions as the work the computers do has become more involved. People evaluate, edit or correct an algorithm’s work. Or they assemble online databases of knowledge and check and verify them — creating, essentially, a crib sheet the computer can call on for a quick answer. Humans can interpret and tweak information in ways that are understandable to both computers and other humans.

via Computer Algorithms Rely Increasingly on Human Helpers – NYTimes.com.

Since 2009, Facebook has filtered what every user sees on the News Feed, based on the wisdom of its proprietary algorithm, called Edge Rank, which determines which posts a particular user is likely to find most interesting. …At the heart of Facebook’s business is to hold the attention of its one billion users worldwide. That means keeping them entertained and on the site as frequently as possible.It seems to be losing this battle somewhat with its youngest users.

via Facebook’s Redesign Hopes to Keep Users Engaged – NYTimes.com.

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