Thursday, November 3, 2016
A Response to EASE
H1 In Rebecca Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex, Plato has a conversation with a young man named Marcus. Marcus has the idea to create a sort of ethical search based on google’s own algorithm called EASE. The search engine will come up with answers to important ethical question using the opinions of people. The search engine will rank each user based on personal happiness as well as admiration from the people around them. At face value this sounds like a brilliant idea worth the same time and effort that is put into search engines like Google, but I see big problems in the principles, even outside the ones brought forward by Marcus himself.
Even if we accept the idea that those who have a high personal happiness and are admired by their peers are the ones we should be asking about our ethical and philosophical quandaries, how could we ever create a system of efficiently ranking these ideas? Suppose we gave a test to all those who created an account for the EASE system, the test would have to prompt the question, “what is your personal level of happiness in your life?” would not the vast majority of people answer that they have a high level of happiness in their life, even though compared to others they have a low level of happiness? Moreover, how does the system equate for those who may have brilliant and accurate views of ethics, yet are plagued with clinical depression, and see their lives as entrapments? But these flaws are not even the worst of it.
Establishing a ranking system of admiration by peers would create far more social problems than it could ever help to fix. I should suppose that with the EASE system, a social media account would be linked to the system, and all the users of EASE would rank others social media accounts in order to establish a ranking system of admiration. The ethics here are ridiculous, can you imagine a website were people can go to give a 1 to 10 ranking of a person they know. This alone would hurt the user more than it would help it. Can you imagine your account regularly scores low 1’s, simply because you have no facebook pictures, or have a view point that is generally opposed by society. The implications of this system would be more of a mad mob democratic vote on people and ideas rather than a useful way of sorting people opinions based on their validity.