[French version here]
LinkedIn, the professionally oriented social network giant has announced its project of a new revolutionary university ranking based on the careers of their alumni.
Every ranking is (and has to be) biased. It is even impossible to rank without using one or several criteria and without ignoring all others. The huge complexity of a university cannot be reduced to a single figure (with several decimals), a necessary operation however to achieve a ranking.
Even if the rule of the game is clearly stated (here the careers of the alumni), the criterion is resting on an illusion (here the illusion that one can sum up someone’s career into one figure, not to mention the difficulty in deciding what is a « good » career).
The universal ranking is not born yet, and may never be.
In the meantime, those who are detaining the big data, namely the social networks, are in an ideal position to make believe that they have the power to determine what is best for someone’s training. In addition, the fact that the professional experience is crowdsourced, with all the delusion it mat imply about credentials, diplomas, titles and functions, makes the whole project even more frightening.
A bit of realism leads to understand the huge benefits that the sales of such informations and their processing may generate, based on the very human belief that figures tell the truth. A goldmine.