Google's New Answer Engine Gamed To Spit Out Clearly Incorrect Answers

Google's New Answer Engine Gamed To Spit Out Clearly Incorrect Answers

What happened to the dinosaurs?

According to Google's new answer engine:

Dinosaur are used more than anything else to indoctrinate children and adults in the idea of millions of years of earth history. However the Bible gives us a framework for explaining dinosaurs in terms of thousands of years of history, including the mystery of when they lived and what happened to them.

The quote, appearing in Google as the answer to the above question, is pulled from a page called “Answers in Genesis,” which is obviously not the best source to address this particular query. In fact it is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy by creationists which has produced this top ranked answer, despite it being patently incorrect.

Google is in the process of transitioning its website from a list of links to an answer engine. Ask it a question and it will tell you the answer, cutting out the middle man.

Yet the software behind the scenes still uses Google's website ranking system and pulls content from top rated websites to give the answer.

This means it can still be gamed. Yet because the content is presented as 'Google's answer' there is danger, especially among impressionable minds. Google's powerful brand conveys authority, while in the answer engine Google isn't actually giving the answer - it's just linking to its best guess.

This will be a problem going forward, as agenda driven groups like politicians, religious extremists and lobbyists all look to have their answer shown by Google as the right answer.

Fortunately, Google has a little “feedback,” form that allows you to report answer box errors. The button is in small grey letters to the bottom-right of the box.

When you see ridiculous answers like this its likely time for a little bit of micro-activism.

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