Amazon’s Text Stats and a Little Orwell

Deven Desai

Deven Desai is an associate professor of law and ethics at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology. He was also the first, and to date, only Academic Research Counsel at Google, Inc., and a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the Yale Law School. Professor Desai’s scholarship examines how business interests, new technology, and economic theories shape privacy and intellectual property law and where those arguments explain productivity or where they fail to capture society’s interest in the free flow of information and development. His work has appeared in leading law reviews and journals including the Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review.

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2 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    All these examples show is just how horribly reductive these indices are. The readability of a text simply cannot be reduced to a statistical analysis of its syntax with total disregard to its semantics.

    Incidentally the Declaration of Independence has a Gunning-Fog index of 15.7. Evidently one can’t understand the founding precepts of our nation until one is almost through college.

  2. Deven Desai says:

    John, I agree and thanks for finding the Declaration number as an example of the index’s oddity. I’m curious, where did you find it or did you calculate it on your own?