Andrey (azangru) wrote,

By the way, speaking of algorithms, I wonder whether lexicographers have caught up with the changing behavior of this word. It seems that apart from the traditional meaning (a set of instructions for doing something), the word algorithm (especially in plural, algorithms) began to mean just some cryptic computer program(s) run god knows where and crunching some huge amounts of data.

A transitional form between the two meanings exists in phrases like "Google search algorithms", which are intelligible no matter which meaning of the word algorithm one applies.

But I was genuinely shocked when I saw a link to the article titled "Turns out algorithms are racist." "What?" I thought, "Binary search or merge sort can be labeled racist? What utter nonsense!" But that turned out to be the usage of the word algorithm in the second sense — as in, some cryptic programs, trained using machine learning.

This TED talk uses the word algorithms mostly in this second sense.

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