Back in the free world and back at it.
It was only two weeks after I returned to Ottawa (after a long stint of 4 years abroad), that I got served papers on a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Being no stranger to legal persecution (still on trial in Albania for allegedly being part of a “plot” that denied the son of a prominent local judge a bachelor degree from the university of Vlora), I felt a dejavu. Of sorts.
There has been a lot of discussion on the web regarding this lawsuit so I will keep my take on it to a bare minimum.
Let’s say that Canadapost is right, and I was wrong to crowdsource the generation of a postal code file based on street addresses. They say nothing about the crowdsourced data itself, which is available to you all. (you can download it here, about 11M records collected over the course of the last 6 months)
Maybe you can process this data and generate a postal code file that is better than what I was able to come up with (occasionally I get one or two complaints regarding a postal code location being in the wrong city or the wrong street). That’s the way it goes when you have inexact information and need to make best guesses. It is tough. But you should try anyways, even if they sue you 8 years down the road.
At any rate, I am hoping to put this story behind and get back on what I enjoy doing – creating stuff that works.
I see the major challenge of the future in the task of separating correct information from incorrect information. Or significant information from insignificant information. Depending on a function of “significance”. Data in itself takes on different forms and value depending on what angle it is viewed upon. Other than facts, everything else needs a probabilistic evaluation. As to the facts themselves, we need to build systems for discarding wrong facts.
The idea is simple. If I can let you chose the “significance” function, then my software can only feed you information that is most likely of value to you. Isn’t everybody trying to do that these days?
For example, you want to go to a website and get some idea on “what would be a fun thing to do in Ottawa today?”
That depends on two things, 1. the type of person you are, 2. what is going on today.
The #2 will depend on how much relevant data we can get from the public internet or other sources of public information.
That, is the real challenge. On top of that, I really hope also, that someone does not sue.