I only recently watched all of the online videos that have been assigned for this course, and I found them very interesting. For example, the video titled Second-Generation Open Access: Building an Open Content really opened my eyes to the necessity of widespread information sharing for making progress in the health field. John Wilbanks did a great job of conveying the importance of a Science Commons in order to manage the flood of scientific information and make it accessible, as well as all the factors that stand in the way of this ideal. It’s a little ironic that economic interests are one of the factors hindering open access, while in the meantime countless redundant studies (that open access could have prevented) create so much financial waste, themselves.
I’m also interested in what Wilbanks said about data mining, such as the current use of (an admittedly flawed) semantic web language to allow fact-extraction through analysis of nouns and verbs within texts. I’m not surprised that the system is, in his words, “inaccurate and lousy,” since it’s always been so very difficult to get machines to understand human language. My husband is a professor of the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language, so he has a great deal to say about the implications of the shortcomings of artificial intelligence and the elusiveness of meaning. Perhaps I’ll link to one of his published articles in my RefWorks account.