In this important and interesting TED Talk, Eli Pariser discusses the potential for the “Web of One” that is being created by the encroachment of algorithms designed to create more personalized experiences. In many cases, these “improvements” to user experience are unseen or unknown, like the 57 checks Google does before rendering your search results or the silent editing of Facebook’s news feed.

One of the problems is that nobody deploying these algorithms is making you aware of them, or asking your permission to invoke them. This is creating a “filter bubble,” as Pariser calls it. More importantly, the engineers creating these are using superficial measures (your first click) and no editorial judgment, as Pariser says:

We need to make sure these algorithms have encoded in them a sense of the public life, a sense of civic responsibility.

This talk is worth watching a few times, and worth sharing with anyone who is jonesing to “personalize” an information experience.


Happy Friday (and here’s to a less filtered weekend)!

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


3 Thoughts on "A New Form of Filter Failure — The Invisible Dangers of the Online "Filter Bubble""

Makes you wonder how the 57 “checks” being conducted by Google are influencing medical literature results.

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