The use of algorithms to filter and present information online is increasingly shaping our everyday experience of the real world, a study published by Information, Communication & Society argues.
Associate Professor Michele Willson of Curtin University, Perth, Australia looked at particular examples of computer algorithms and the questions they raise about personal agency, changing world views and our complex relationship with technologies.
Algorithms are central to how information and communication are located, retrieved and presented online, for example in Twitter follow recommendations, Facebook newsfeeds and suggested Google map directions. However, they are not objective instructions but assume certain parameters and values, and are in constant flux, with changes made by both humans and machines.
Embedded in complex amalgams of political, technical, cultural and social interactions, algorithms bring about particular ways of seeing the world, reproduce stereotypes, strengthen world views, restrict choices or open previously unidentified possibilities.
As well as shaping what we see online, algorithms are increasingly telling us what we should be seeing, the study argues. For example, an algorithm that claims to spot beauty and tell you which selfies to delete implies we should trust technology more than ourselves to make aesthetic choices. Such algorithms also carry assumptions that beauty can be defined as universal and timeless, and can be easily reduced to a particular combination of data.
The idea that everything is reducible to data is also beginning to affect the way people perceive their environment and everyday relations. This can be seen in the growing popularity of wearable devices that track aspects of our physical activity and health then analyse and relay them back to us. Such algorithm-driven technologies transform biological items and actions into data – a process that is unquestioned, normalised and invisible.
Professor Willson said: “By delegating everyday practices to technological processes, with the resultant need to break down and reduce complex actions into a series of steps and data decision points, algorithms epitomise and encapsulate a growing tendency towards atomisation and fragmentation that resonates more broadly with an increasing emphasis on singularity, quantification and classification in the everyday.”
The Latest on: Filtering algorithms
via Google News
The Latest on: Filtering algorithms
- Shining a Sustainability Light on the Darker Side of Big Techon May 25, 2022 at 3:27 am
The Global Balanced Risk Control team discusses the potential social risks of pervasive data mining for the “Big Tech”.
- How To Easily Search For Tweets By Date On Twitteron May 24, 2022 at 3:31 am
Are you wondering what your first tweets were like and how much engagement they received? Here's how you can search for tweets on Twitter.
- What You Need To Know About The New Threat: Poisoned AIon May 23, 2022 at 4:15 am
As the availability of data increases and algorithms become more accurate, AI can make the difference between successful products and those that fail.
- PS Plus will have CRT filter and other visual optionson May 23, 2022 at 3:15 am
Sony's revamped PS Plus subscription service launches in Asia this week and new details are already emerging. It's ...
- Gmail spam filter censorship controversy prompts conservative spliton May 23, 2022 at 3:10 am
Conservatives are split over whether Google email filters are flagging Republican lawmakers’ emails as spam and thereby unfairly censoring them unfairly.
- Why some recommendations fall flat: Recommendation engines & their challengeson May 22, 2022 at 6:10 pm
Recommendation engines should be varied and adapt quickly to new trends, with the ability to scale up quickly to process more data.
- PlayStation classic Syphon Filter will have trophies on PS Pluson May 20, 2022 at 2:31 am
Syphon Filter will have trophy support when it launches as part of the PS1 classics on PlayStation Plus next month. As ...
- Personalisation and filter bubbles: Should the news industry worry?on May 14, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Implemented well, personalisation can take readers on a journey from one topic to the next, breaking them out of their filter bubbles rather than keeping readers in them. Here are four positives of ...
- Sen. Hawley demands answers from Google after study shows stark 'political biases'on April 27, 2022 at 1:43 pm
sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday demanding answers in response to a recent study that found the tech giant's email spam filtering algorithms exhibited political bias in 2020.
via Bing News