Informatics, TU Vienna

Vienna Gödel Lecture 2017

The Faculty of Informatics was welcoming Ricardo A. Baeza-Yates, former Yahoo Labs Vice-president and currently CTO in NTENT, a semantic search company in South California. The Chilean-Spanish computer scientist talked about the "Bias in the Web" at the Vienna Gödel Lecture 2017.

Bias in the Web

The Web is the most powerful communication medium and the largest public data repository that humankind has created. Its content ranges from great reference sources such as Wikipedia to ugly fake news. Indeed, social (digital) media is just an amplifying mirror of ourselves. Hence, the main challenge of search engines and other websites that rely on web data is to assess the quality of such data. However, as all people have their own biases, web content as well as our web interactions are tainted with many biases.

Data bias includes redundancy and spam, while interaction bias includes activity and presentation bias. In addition, sometimes algorithms add bias, particularly in the context of search and recommendation systems. As bias generates bias, we stress the importance of debiasing data as well as using the context and other techniques such as explore & exploit, to break the filter bubble. The main goal of this talk is to make people aware of the different biases that affect all of us on the Web. Awareness is the first step to be able to fight and reduce the vicious cycle of bias.

The complete lecture can be watched on our youtube channel.

Biography of Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Ricardo Baeza-Yates areas of expertise are web search and data mining, information retrieval, data science, and algorithms. He is CTO of NTENT, a semantic search technology company based in California, USA. Before, he was Vice President of Research at Yahoo Labs, based in Barcelona, Spain, and later in Sunnyvale, California, from January 2006 to February 2016. He also is part time Professor at DTIC of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, Spain, as well as at DCC of Universidad de Chile in Santiago.

Until 2004 he was Professor and founding director of the Center for Web Research at the later place. He obtained a Ph.D. in CS from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 1989. He is co-author of the best-seller Modern Information Retrieval textbook published by Addison-Wesley in 2011 (2nd edition), that won the ASIST 2012 Book of the Year award.

From 2002 to 2004 he was elected to the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society and between 2012 and 2016 was elected for the ACM Council. Since 2010 he is a founding member of the Chilean Academy of Engineering. In 2009 he was named ACM Fellow and in 2011 IEEE Fellow, among other awards and distinctions.

Press reports (German)

Futurezone, am 8.6.2017: "Wir können ein besseres Internet aufbauen"

FM4 Webstory, am 11.6.2017: "Bias in the Web"

DER STANDARD, Forschung Spezial vom 14.6.2017: "Das Internet ist ein lebendes Organ"

Pictures and a report on the lecture (in German) can be found here.