Quite often when we’re asking these difficult questions we’re asking about questions where we might not even know how to ask where the line is. But in other cases, when researchers work to advance public knowledge, even on uncontroversial topics, we can still find ourselves forbidden from doing the research or disseminating the research.
As we dug into this topic, we realized research gets forbidden for all sorts of reasons. We’re going to talk about topics today that are forbidden in some sense because they’re so big, they’re so consequential, that it’s extremely difficult for anyone to think about who should actually have the right to make this decision. We’re going to talk about some topics that end up being off the table, that end up being forbidden, because they’re kind of icky. They’re really uncomfortable. And frankly, if you make it through this day without something making you uncomfortable, we did something wrong in planning this event.
I often try to tell people that Google is not providing information retrieval algorithms, it’s providing advertising algorithms. And that is a very important distinction when we think about what kind of information is available in these corporate-controlled spaces.