Algorithms: Do they connect or disconnect people?

The implications algorithms: Information that is given to us, rather than chosen by us.

Algorithms are nothing but sets of data used to predict results and it’s used to customize everything you see online. Different variables or criteria tailor the way information, content or ads reach us through online social media, news, advertising, videos, etc. Does this connect or disconnect people?

Fortunately, a good friend recently shared this video that explains the whole thing.

Adding to this, since I´m on vacation and have a lot of spare time, I was going through the Facebook wall of one of my best friends. To my surprise, I noticed I had missed a lot of this person´s posts in the last weeks. The first thing I though was, why am I not getting this thoughts when I´m certainly interested in what he wants to say, while I get tons of stuff on my wall of people that I have met once.

So I did a little experiment on creating a Facebook account to see how finding your friends worked, as well as an exercise to see how the privacy rules work, because lately I lost complete track on who is reading, seeing, or stalking me (not that I complain about the last one). Well the result was that:  First of all you cannot create an alternate account with the same email.

Once you sort this out, it happened that FB can´t link you if your email contacts have no correspondence/interaction with the friends you are looking for. So I started looking for my friends with the “weirdest” or less common names… it took me a while, but I did once the FB algorithm started showing the stream of friends in common.

The bottom line is that the same thing happens with information, and while decades ago there was propaganda, radio, newspapers, now there is the internet which is a much better way to wash our brains and plant ideas that we might not even filter, but we absorb because we are being bombarded with online every second we are in front of our computers.

I used to think as the T.V. as a means of social manipulation, which it is, but at least with the TV a whole family could watch something an build their own independent opinions. But with the Internet, this information gets targeted individually, leaving little, or no room al all, for discussion and idea sharing.

Once I realized this, I started thinking if the Internet would really be a tool for connecting people and help us move together onto a next level of understanding and agreeing in fundamental things and why not, eventually find peace. But I guess that is too naïve to think, so I better accept that the fast flow of information is destroying knowledge and the Internet is in fact nothing more than… the Matrix Reloaded.

Scary, isn´t it?

Ethics thoughts on how Big Tech uses our data to drive us to consume

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Mexican blogger living abroad and writing about experiences of traveling around México, Italy, India and Spain.


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  1. I changed the first line from “I have been wanting to write” to “I wanted to write”… thanks for the correction Katharina Harr!

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