Copied facebook post about the noob-trap shibboleths of 101 courses

I feel like most academic disciplines have noob-trap shibboleths: things we are tempted to use to show knowledge of the subject but which actually are seen by experts as signals of too little training & cultural indoctrination to be taken seriously – signs of trying too hard. Tentative list:

Film: establishing shot; “auteur”
Linguistics: prescriptivism vs. descriptivism; Chomsky Mark I Universal Grammar rhetoric about syntax
Literary theory: free indirect style; the death of the author
Math: Gödel’s theorems or disproportionate interest in foundations broadly
Games: “ludonarrative dissonance”
Poststructuralism: the word “postmodernism” unless properly traced through Jameson; rhizomes
Analytic philosophy: signs of emotion or human concern – “stoner philosophizing”; trolley problems
Statistics: Bayesianism vs. frequentism
CS: argumentative discussion of programming languages or editors
Economics: Everything

Copied facebook post making a simple point about algorithmic biases

Basic point but it’s a public & important conversation now: the idea that algorithms / software products reproduce the biases and beliefs of their programmers is a subtle misconception: programs do encode assumptions of their designers about “how the world works” but rarely encode political worldviews as such. They encode the biases (often unintentionally) built into their models & those of the “economic” imperatives they answer to; for most machine-learning models that is the biases of the data / corpus they are trained on: not of young mostly-white-Asian-male Californians but of whoever’s posting or searching. A programmer in Hyderabad or São Paolo can easily reproduce American racism because they trained on an aAmerican dataset (separately from the way we export our cultural problems & fixations) or vice versa. And, yes, the default is a highly highly political position (paradoxically exacerbated by how it /tries to appear apolitical/)

My comment 1: There is also a long and rich conversation about the politics of logic & science & computation themselves, in such disciplines as critical theory, science & technology studies, critical race & gender studies, and software studies. I am highly uninformed about these subjects, but i also guess many of the Republican congressmen opining about Google’s hatred of Conservatism hadn’t heard of them (my feelings about that “”hearing”” are complicated because i basically agree with, am doing work premised on, the assertion that algorithms are /not neutral, not objective, involved of course with ideology/ – Just Not In The Way You Think They Are (i do also think that the caricature of a position (that, nonetheless, like most caricatures, some do little to distinguish themselves from) that all programs are imperialistic and anti-radical because computation originates in military labs and science is bc it was formulated by European aristocrats is also missing the point or eliding the actually important & interesting questions))

My comment 2: (Computers are the worst though. Fuck computers!! Burn them all!! Mine keeps failing to account for my ingenious incompetences)

My comments 3-4: deleted (though mostly harmless)