Academia.stackexchange doesn’t want to talk about library privatization

Today, I’ve posted a small question to https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/124513/why-are-academic-libraries-public about library privatization. In short, I’ve asked why the academic library are getting so much money from the taxpayer and if it’s possible to transform them into for-profit companies. The question has become -7 downvotes so far. It seems, that the online website is not interested in discussing library privatisation at all. I would guess, it was not my fault, instead everyone who is asking about that topic would get lots of downvotes.

The problem with academic libraries is, that they are wonderful if the founding is ignored. The problem is, that the students on the one hand doesn’t have to pay a fee and at the same time a library is producing lots of costs for the rent of the building and buying all the books. And this money is payed by the government. It seems, that this kind of discussion is not wanted by liberians. It is comparable if we want to discuss with a postal service of the 18th century about postal privatization. They won’t even understand the question.

From a linguistic perspective my question was not that hard. Misunderstanding means not, that with my English something is wrong, but that on the other side the group pressure is too high. That means, if one of the users in the forum would take a look at the same numbers he would also gets downvotes.

I think the problem can be explained with historical reasons. Somewhere in the 19th century, the university was financed by the government and the assumption is, that this is true forever. That means, all the companies in the normal world (Apple, Google, Amazon and AT&T) have to think about business models and customers while a university is some kind of island which has endless money and can never go bankrupt. That means, the government founded universities are identifying themself with a higher social role which makes them superior to normal companies. If a normal for-profit company will make a mistake their share price will test out the bottom. If an academic library is not able to deliver a book or their costs run out of budget nothing will happen.

If we are treating university library alone it is not a big deal if some inefficiency is in the system. The problem is, that today’s universities are blocking other companies to enter the market. If hundred of gonverment founded libraries are available in the united states, it’s not possible to establish new libraries which are working as for-profit organization. As a result, the transformation of the united states into a knowledge economy is prevented and the students are poor educated. And this will become a problem for everybody.

Update In the last minute, the question was put on hold with the explanation that it is outside of the scope of the forum.

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Help, the ship is sinking …

Under the URL https://ai.stackexchange.com/search?q=answers%3A0 a list of open questions is given at the SE.AI website. The problem is, that the number grows. Last month the record was around 390. Now it is 403. The problem is, if nobody answers the open questions, the website will look bad. Questions which have no answer are too hard for the community, that means it looks like the users are overwhelmed. Are the questions hard to answer? Sometimes. Some of the questions are 1 year and older. They are remaining in the database. It is not the fault of the OP, but of the community in SE.AI. The problem is, that the ressources are limited. And asking a question is easier than posting an answer.

To overcome the problem it would be necessary to increase the effort, which means that more AI-experts are needed which are motivated to increase their reputation by answering questions by beginners. The task itself is easy, all what the user needs to know is a bit English skills, a working browser with Google Scholar and the goal to bring AI forward. But i would guess, that it is hard to find such people, so my prediction is, that the number of unanswered question will raise further.

Sorry, but I’m at my knowledge limit

In a recent discussion on SE.AI an important question was upraising: Are Orthogonal structures in Recursive neural network able to implement Artificial Intelligence? https://ai.stackexchange.com/questions/7547/is-topological-sophistication-necessary-to-the-furtherance-of-ai/7889?noredirect=1#comment12330_7889

I would like to answer to the comment in the forum, but i must admit that my knowledge isn’t sufficient. That means, I’m able identify the general direction and can search for some papers about this topic, but I do not understand them fully, so it is hard to go into the details. The problem with neural networks is, that the domain is unexplored land, especially if it is combined with biological neural network. Ok, not unexplored for Google Scholar, about the topic of “orthogonal structure” many thousands papers are available, but the bottleneck is, that the papers provide only the knowledge and somebody must understand it first. And that is the bottleneck. Sure, I’m knowing more about Neural networks than a beginner, but not enough to answer the comment in detail. So I can only say: sorry. But perhaps somebody other knows it. He is invited to click on the link, write something useful to it and be part of the discussion.

Good luck, the other side is well informed, sponsered by IBM and is involved in higher education.

Bug: To much unanswered question on SE.AI

https://ai.stackexchange.com/

Showing all questions with no answers is simple. The user has to put only the “answers:0” keyword into the searchbox, and the Stackexchange software print out the list. Right now, the number of questions without an answer is around 390. In total in the system are 2162 questions available which means that the answerrate is 82%. That is not very good. A good value would be 99.9%. That means, any question gets at least one answer. I would call this a minimum requirement for a good online website. So, what is the problem? The problem is that writing an answer is a time consuming task. In the last day I’ve trying to do so, but it is only possible to write 1-2 answers per day. That means, If I’m trying to answer alone all the open question and the assumption is that every day new questions will be posted by users, it is some kind of sisyphos work.

In the forum was discussed, if it is possible to delete some of the older questions which have a low quality. That is not possible. Because every question was posted by a user and he is interested in getting an answer. Sure, from a technical point of view it is very easy to clear the queue. A simple SQL query which deletes all questions with no answers can be run against the database in under 1 minute. But that is not the way, how a forum works. The idea is that questions are good, and that they have to be answered.

With a bit brainstorming I found at least a possibility to simplify the answering process. The order which question has to be answered next is not fixed. Instead the user can search for his favorite topic. A search string like “answers:0 neural network” will show only a subgroup of questions. This makes it is easy to identify a question which sounds interesting.

Let us make a simple calculation. If any user is posting one answer per day, and 10 users are working in parallel, it will take around 40 days until the queue is clear (if no new question will be posted).

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How to defeat Google in AI

https://ai.stackexchange.com/questions/6333/who-stands-a-chance-against-google-in-the-ai-race

Nice question on the Stackexchange board. The OP want’s to know, how it can be possible to resist against the latest AI technology from Google, especially Google Duplex and the Waymo selfdriving car. The answer is simple: Google doesn’t have invented such technology. The Google IO Duplex presentation was an inside joke. No AI was used in the telephone call but it was the recording of a normal conversation done by two ordinary people. The same is true for the Waymo driverless car. It works not autonomously but it is remote controlled like the Knight Industries 2000 in the 1980s tv-show. What Google is planning is, that one day a computersoftware will be capable in doing such tasks and they are searching for developers who are realize such AI systems.

Daily Open Access answers

https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/109439/is-it-appropriate-if-my-current-affiliation-is-different-from-the-ending-of-my-e

A student ask, if he can use the old e-mail address from stanford if she leaves the university. It is important to make clear, that in the year 1991, most professors didn’t had an e-mail address in. Here is an acceptance letter from that period, https://i.pinimg.com/474x/83/ba/ff/83baffb1a3eb1cf130639f28896e9b76–things-i-want-i-wish.jpg which was send by the secretary, and only a Telex number if given on top. Telex was widely used because it is a cheap form of communication, so I don’t understand the OP.