January 30, 2019

The algorithm as god

By glencadia2  
news about the business

It’s a strange world where an evolving commercial algorithm — a bunch of ideas, suppositions, experiments, results, and prejudices of a team of people over time codified into a system of action — becomes a god. It has power. It’s not listening to you. It’s fairly arbitrary. Sounds like a Greek god to me.

In 2012,  we had a dog fight. Knock wood, we haven’t had a fight since. If you think about it, with hundreds of dogs here, socializing– not pretending to socialize– how could there be so few fights? Because we’re good at organizing dogs– we were good before and have only improved our methods with time– and have huge amounts of space. Our record of safe socializing is excellent and the last thing anyone should worry about is socialization gone wrong.

When you google the business, however, this one incident seven years ago is all over the place. Why? Because it was published in a source that Google considers major and reliable. As part of Google taking the primary place among a system of established business, Google’s search algorithm is highly biased toward other established players in the same system. If the system thinks a source is reliable and big, then it seems like time is not a factor in the compiling of results.

What happened was I had an aggressive dog here. I isolated her up carefully, as I wouldn’t want her to hurt anyone. The owner did not advise me that the dog was aggressive to other dogs before we brought her here. Although she was alone, her growling and snarling somehow triggered the nice dogs on the other side of the door fought with each other. Either one dog didn’t realize who was growling and snarling and mistakenly bit the wrong dog or the negative energy from the other room just transferred to a different area, as happens with dogs.

Anyway, as unfortunate as that was, everyone was eventually okay. I learned that negative energy can pass through a closed door. People still see the story — published in 2013 about something that happened in 2012 — and I have to talk about this incident more than I’d like. Ask anyone who works with dogs about people and accidents and customers. Anyone. Caesar, the dog whisperer, was sued.

Since 2012, we have completely revamped the facilities. More people, different procedures, not much the same, except Google insists on this not going away ever. And, honestly, we’re pretty much full much of the year and business is great and it doesn’t really matter in that sense, as illogical as it seems from my point of view to have to discuss something that happened so long ago. I think Google should factor time more significantly into their search results and factor out pro-establishment bias more. That would improve the results, closer to reality and further from the potential manipulation and distortion from a few well-positioned people as opposed to the natural interplay of people and time. But who am I to criticize a god?