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Announcements Blog 5: Algorithms

Living in a Bubble: The True Cost of Customization and Convenience

Another stimulating Net Mirror discussion unfolded this past week on the problem of filter bubbles and “web-based customization”. We considered the ubiquitous power of algorithms and the resulting persuasion architecture(s) that shape our perspectives of the world at large.

Thanks to Nives for an excellent presentation covering Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble. We quickly confronted how the personalization of the web has isolated each and every one of us in a self-designed echo chamber. Our data-trace fed into algorithms now determine what we see. And what we want to see is predicted before we can ever really think about it. Our attention is co-opted, and we inherently go with the information flow. Nives’ analysis emphasized this shift from a previous era of the human curation of news and information, to the lightening speed of algorithmic automation. The code draws heavily on the power of personalization, but at what cost?

Our Net Mirror twitter chat based on Zeynep Tufekci’s TED talk was insightful, and I am also glad we took a look at some clips from Eli Pariser’s TED talk as well. As Patricia mentioned, sometimes this presentation form crystallizes more scholarly work in a way that is lends a certain accessiblity:

Your “to-do” list:

We will continue our consideration of the problem with a world shaped by algorithmic AI and customization next week when Kevin leads us through some work by both Safiya Noble and Joy Buolamwini. If data is destiny, then how have algorithms propagated racial bias? We will look closely at how a culture of racism and sexism is baked into discoverability online. And we will discuss the ways data discrimination is indeed a real social problem.

Please read and listen to:

In the second part of the class next Thursday, we will have an in-person Studio Visit from our very own Kaveena Bullock, who will tell you a bit about her “Blackfishing” project from last year’s iteration of #NetNarr. She will also share some insight into her thesis project as well.

Please blog about this above reading/viewing material for Week #6.

See you in Net Mirror next time!

Dr. Zamora

2 replies on “Living in a Bubble: The True Cost of Customization and Convenience”

In light of the plastic bag ban in NY and the fluctuation in weather, I have been thinking about the environment lately. Rereading your post made me think of our environment and convenience. What are willing to sacrifice for our convenience?

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