Proposals for Incorporating Machine Learning in Mozilla Firefox

Friday June 18th, 2004

Blake Ross writes: "I will be doing research this summer at Stanford with Professor Andrew Ng about how we can incorporate machine learning into Firefox. We're looking for ideas that will make Firefox 2.0 blow every other browser out of the water. People who come up with the best 3-5 ideas win Gmail accounts, and if we implement your idea you'll be acknowledged in both our paper and in Firefox credits. Your idea will also be appreciated by the millions of people who use Firefox :-). We'll also entertain Thunderbird proposals."

#110 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nuke Anything + Bayesian F

by phaasz <>

Tuesday June 29th, 2004 1:02 AM

You are replying to this message

Arguing that a generic learning content filter will spell the end of the free web is a little disingenuous, me thinks.

I tend to agree that presets should not be provided (at least not official ones), but only because the whole point of a learning filter is that it should learn from an individual in order to reflect their choices. Remember that this self-same facility would be useful for objectionable/illegal content, popups, etc. I, for example, work at a company with very stringent web quotas, and I would attempt to teach it to block images above a certain size, flash animations, etc. In summary, blocking legitimate advertising is one of many uses of such a filter, just as downloading kiddie porn is one of the many uses of firefox. The moral dimension belongs not to the tool, but to how it is used.

To look at it another way, what we are talking about are individual resources that are accessed individually via HTTP by our client tools (eg firefox) and rendered accordingly. I could be using a phone or a text-only browser (eg lynx) to browse a site, and if that involves removing all images, then that's not a moral question AFAIK. Don't underestimate the resilience of commerce - perhaps (puts on optimist hat at this point) stronger web shit-filters would encourage advertisers to package their messages into a format that their target audience don't want to block (think virals, etc).