Algorithms and Victor Hood – What’s That All About?

The newly published author, Victor A. Hood, is better known to followers of his blog as Al Hood. His work can be found at:  The Cvillean – The adventures of little read writing Hood.

Al recently published an autobiography, “So, That’s What It’s All About, Alfie!” I wanted to purchase it. I knew it was being sold by Amazon,  but wondered if it would show up in a ‘Google’ search. I started with the author’s name and the name of the book. The search engine came back with  some books, including ones about Robin Hood, some obits, a type of range hood… but not what I was looking for.

Next I went to Amazon.com and looked in the book section for “So, That’s What It’s All About, Alfie!” Amazon told me I had used too many words, so they showed me 2000 results for a search for the words ‘so thats all’. Al’s book was fifth in the results. The first four books were about preaching, teacher leadership and sex education for youth.

I then tried searching in Amazon for Victor A. Hood. While Al’s book did come up on the top of this list, Amazon asked me if I meant to search for Victoria Hood. That was an interesting suggestion because in Al’s book, he noted that his mother had hoped he would be a girl. She had already picked out a name: Victoria.

Searching and Algorithms – What’s that all about?
The results we see when we search for anything is decided by an algorithm. This is a set of instructions with certain conditions that will deliver a pre-defined result. The people who write these algorithms influence what you are going to see. A Google Spokeswoman unintentionally confirmed this by saying:

We do today what we have done all along, provide relevant results from the most reliable sources available.
– Google Spokeswoman in response to a WSJ article in 2019 –

“The most reliable sources available”  – someone is deciding for you what the reliable sources will be.

Now the Government Wants to Decide What you will See
The Canadian Government has introduced Bill C-10, the internet streaming tax. The primary goal of this bill, as stated by Openmedia.org, is:
… expanding Canada’s Broadcasting Act to apply to all streaming audio or video content on the Internet… In addition to the taxes… C-10 would grant the CRTC the right to set quotas for how much of a streaming platform’s content must be CanCon (Canadian Content), and to require… apps, websites and search results to make CanCon appear more frequently and prominently within the service.

The Canadian Government deciding what you should see. What could possible be wrong with that?!?

For more about Algorithms, click these links to my posts:
Math and Number Quotations
Algorithms – Do They Have a Hidden Agenda?

10 thoughts on “Algorithms and Victor Hood – What’s That All About?

  1. You are the best publicist anyone could ask for! How ironic about the Victoria. Perhaps my mother controlling from the grave? Cue the Twilight Zone theme.

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    1. I’m glad I didn’t offend you by mentioning your book.
      I haven’t finished reading it yet so don’t know whether it was intentional that your book appeared with works about ‘preaching, teacher leadership and sex education for youth.’

      Liked by 1 person

  2. C-10 is reminiscent of the music industry “rules” around the volume of Canadian content that must be played on radio stations. Basically, neither the music (nor the “news” and/or general information) has to be “good” or “valuable” or “worthy of human consumption” – it just has to be Canadian. As a Canadian, I love that our artistic works (and other data) is deemed worthwhile, but some of is just isn’t what I need to read or hear (or find when I’m searching for something specific). Sadly, our world has become a place where politicians (and dilettantes) create and implement rules that make no sense (and/or are simply not applicable) to the average person.

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    1. I know what you mean. I can’t count how many times Canadian singer Charlie Major’s songs have been on country and western stations… the same few songs, it seems. Though I like the songs, in reality Charlie’s vocal range seems to be about 3 notes…

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  3. The CanCon thing just drives me around the bend. How typical. It’s affirmative action with content — and that increases the longevity of mediocrity in Canadian content. (I hope that makes sense.)

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    1. Yes, I understand what you are saying. ‘Affirmative action’ in other areas might result in an unintended mediocrity. I wonder about our education system today, but don’t know enough about it to comment.

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