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Thursday, October 04, 2018

Google added years to my life

If you google

gasarch

you used to  get the following:   here

Please go there and notice how old they say I am.

Okay, you are back. You may have noticed that they say I am 68. Gee, I don't feel 68 (I feel younger).

I have no idea how Google got my age wrong.

0) I found about this when I saw my age in an article about the Muffin problem. The article is here. I had been in contact with the author earlier so it was easy to contact him, assure him that I appreciate his throwing scammers and spammers off of my trail by giving me the wrong age, but I wondered why he chose 68. He then apologized (which was not needed) and pointed me to the google thing.

1) My age was  not on my Wikipedia page. Nor was my birth year.

2) I do not recall every telling Google my age -- but then again, Google knows what I search for and perhaps deduced an incorrect age from that (I've been watching a very old Western, Maverick, lately, which may have fooled them. So my plan is working!)

3) Google thinks I published with Hilbert (see here or here) so that would make them think I am 68 years old. Hmm, still to young. If I was a 10-year old math genius in 1938 (Hilbert died in 1943 but since I am not a 68 year old math genius I chose numbers to make it easy) and published with
him then, then I would now be 80. Not 68. So that is not the answer.
(Side question- are any of Hilbert's co-authors still alive?)

Seriously, if anyone has any ideas why Google had it wrong, let me now

4) Lance was outraged at this and hence put my birth year on my Wikipedia page thinking that
would fix it. (I was not outraged, just amused.)

5) It was taken off my page since Lance couldn't prove it.

6) Lance and I  mentioned my age in a blog post and that was proof enough. So our blog is a primary
source. We should use this sparingly -- with great power comes great responsibility. (See here for more on that theme)

7) Other weird internet stuff: What does it take to get a Wikipedia Page? A Nobel Prize in Physics
helps. See: here.


4 comments:

  1. One of our readers told us the wrong age was on Bill's wikidata page (now fixed). I didn't even know there was a wikidata page.

    And Bill doesn't mention it but if you Google him now, the age is more accurate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Second Edition: Complex Programming:

    http://vixra.org/abs/1810.0073

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is an internal firewall at google between the data collected site visits and explicitly set preferences for ads and everything else. Anytime you want to use information like someone's age you need approval to ensure it's not being used in a way that might reveal sensitive (defined SUPER broadly to the point you can't show ads based on visits to valentines day gift sites since it might suggest to a friend who glanced at your screen you had shopped for valentine day gifts) information. So google having the information in an ad sense is very different than having it in a useable sense.

    ReplyDelete