Is the Internet Becoming the Bot Net?

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This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Farsi Wikipedia for the 13th week, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than 50% of all Internet traffic is no longer generated by humans

On the Internet, we’ve reached a tipping point where more than 50% of all Internet traffic is no longer generated by humans – instead, it’s generated by a motley mix of search engine spiders, bots, scrapers, scammers, hackers and, yes, spies. We are no longer talking about the Internet, we are talking about the Bot Net – a “bot-mediated reality” where algorithms and bots influence where we go, how long we spend there and with whom we communicate. This has enormous consequences not just for our day-to-day Web experience (“Does the Internet feel a little bit slow today?”) but also for the way we manage our social identities online and the way that we respond to the development of an underground Bot Economy.

To a larger degree than we might realize, our social identities online are in the hands of algorithms and bots. This is not part of a sinister plot in Silicon Valley, it is simply a reality that on the Internet, our lives have become so complex that we need some kind of filter to make sense of them. We’ve all exceeded our personal Dunbar’s Numbers and have been forced to accept the benign algorithm. Whenever we use Facebook, algorithms known as Edgerank and Graph Rank have already filtered and ranked the information that we see on our Timeline. Whenever we use Google, the ubiquitous Google PageRank algorithm has ranked, filtered and displayed the results that Google thinks are most appropriate, based on our prior Web behavior. When you consider that social networking and search are the two primary ways that we make sense of the Internet, it’s a sobering thought that bots and algorithms have created a shadowy “algo-world” and given us a false sense of comfort with the Filter Bubble.

Read more . . .

via Big Think – Dominic Basulto

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