Eli Pariser: “Filter Bubbles”

This video has been one of those “wake up call” moments for me. It’s the sort of thing that you thought you knew anyway, but when explained properly is really interesting and actually pretty scary.  It’s a video about how we, as a society, interact with media and how that media is fed to us.  In an attempt to optimise, streamline and polish our desired media, search engines and content providers use complex algorithms to filter our search results.  Although this provides us with relevant content it may not always provide us with meaningful content resulting in a distorted view of what may be happening in the real world.  A Google search from one computer may yield entirely different search results from another even if the search criteria is exactly the same.  The results are tailored to suit the user whether they like it or not.

I’m sure the companies who employ these relevant filtering algorithms would have us believe that it’s for our own aid and overall satisfaction, but what scares me is the level of control they can impose on our own media consumption.  As a human being I feel it should be within my power to choose what media I consume and what I choose to take from it.  It’s not fair that an unfeeling, unethical machine should make that choice for me.

Like I said, it’s another great video from the guys at TED and definitely worth a watch.  I’ve collated some related material below for further reading on the subject and even some alternative search engines if this concerns you.

Enjoy

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