25 February 2021

The Yahoos' Database Flags PogChamps

In last month's post about chess in the mainstream news, A Database of Yahoos (January 2021), I once again used Google News to tell me what it thought was important, chesswise. I wrote,

All in all, Google News listed 70 different news stories. The image on the left shows a count of the stories provided by each source, where those stories numbered at least two for a particular source.

This month I repeated the exercise for the month of February -- the Google service returns a month's worth of headlines -- and produced the image shown below.

This time Google gave me 100 different news stories from 54 different sources, of which seven sources were mentioned more than once. The four sources with more than two mentions were all chess news sources -- three of them the same as last month plus Chess24.

Of the 33 Chess.com stories, 14 were about 'PogChamps 3'. Of the 50 non-chess news sources, there were two such stories:-

I haven't watched any PogChamps streams or read any PogChamps stories and I don't intend to, just like I'm not interested in watching beginner golf players or beginner tennis players. Similarly, I doubt that experts in either of those two sports are interested in watching me flail away at a golf ball or a tennis ball. My first post on the subject, Pog Champs (June 2020), already focused on the emerging controversy. Each to his own; live and let live.

Of the 53 stories that that were produced by the non-chess news sources, one was especially worthy of attention from mainstream news, and it appeared three times in the Google News feed. The best of the three was this version:-

  • 2021-02-19: AI May Mistake Chess Discussions as Racist Talk (cmu.edu) • 'Social media talk about game-piece colors could lead to misunderstandings, at least for hate-speech detection software. That's what a pair of Carnegie Mellon University researchers suspect happened to Antonio Radic, or "agadmator," a Croatian chess player who hosts a popular YouTube channel. Last June, his account was blocked for "harmful and dangerous" content.'

CMU is Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh PA, one of the most respected computer science schools in the USA. If they think it's an important AI story, then it's important. It reminds me of the often-seen criticism that chess is racist because White always moves first. Should we be rethinking the standard color scheme used in chess?

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