Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Why do computers make us stupid?

We seem to have a weird double standard when it comes to computers. We react negatively to systems and programs that duplicate or replace traditional methods. This is something I see all the time.

What am I talking about? This story.

The over-arching legal implications I'll leave to others. But its this one section that leaves me scratching my head.

The other Section 230 saga concerns a Web site called Roommates.com, which allows users to set up profiles and seek roommate matches in thousands of U.S. cities. One of the ways the site attempts to spark matches is through requiring members to complete questionnaires that stock their profiles with a number of personal details, including their gender, sexual orientation, and whether they have children, according to court documents.

Roommates.com found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit, in part because it asks users to indicate the sexual orientation they're seeking in would-be roommates.

Those personal queries drew a lawsuit from the Fair Housing Councils of the San Fernando Valley and San Diego, which claimed they violated the federal Fair Housing Act and California state housing discrimination laws.

Let me get this straight. I'm looking for a roommate, and I'm not allowed to advertise what kind of roommate I desire because its discriminatory? Get fucking real people. You can't force homophobes to live with homosexuals. Well I guess you can force two people to live together, but its not a good idea. I would think a gay man would want to know his prospective roommate is a homophobe. But this gets to the core question, when does personal choice become discrimination?

If I'm looking for a 30-35 non-smoking, single, male without pets and a job, I've just discriminated based on age, use of a legal product, marital status, sex, pet preferences and employment. And that's before I even decide I LIKE the dude and will live with him. Every single choice is discriminatory. And its natural, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Well the only alternative is the state randomly puts people together when they are seeking shared accommodation. That's the only non-discriminatory method.

OK, enough on the political correctness stupidity, on to the computer aspect.

I can summarize my point with this question. Is it illegal to put a personal ad in the newspaper stating "White, straight, Single Male, 30-35 seeking same in potential roommate near the University"?

I'm going to hazard a guess, and say the answer is no. Which is my point. As soon as its on a computer, people get all uppity and stupid. I see this kind of twisted logic all of the time. Even in the corporate world, we go to the nth-squared degree to put checks and balances on computer systems, and completely ignore all other loopholes on traditional media. It leaves me completely baffled.

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