Rent and Bias - Contextual Modelling - Panel
Search is a cost-intensive business operating in highly commercial environment. Yet, for the public, the services is free to use, financed indirectly through advertisement. Beneath this simple trade-off - free search results for the price of exposure to relatively limited advertisement - lie much more complex economic processes. On the one hand, there is the way in which the free labor of millions (who create the online content and place the links) is transformed into monetary value by the search engine providers (and other aggregators). On the other hand, there he economic bias of the companies themselves creeps into the search results. In this panel, we want to look at the economic models other than advertisement, and their social and political consequences. The current paradigm of search is keywords and hit lists. While the results are presented as a simple, decontextualized hierarchy, it is produced by complex models that try to determine context. Increasingly, these contexts are made visible to users through clouds, network diagrams and other means breaking with the model of the hit list. In addition, complex, extremely large data-set created by search engines can provide the basis of complex models of social behavior which produce knowledge without any keywords. In this panel we want to look at how contextual knowledge is being used to inform a new paradigm in search, and a new types of social modeling beyond search.