Your Algorithmic View of life is Limiting

Paul Orangetree

Paul Orangetree on Your Algorithmic View of life is Limiting

Let me start by clearing something up. I do not want to be misunderstood here.

Nor only to I enjoy the digital age, but a fair bit of my business interest lies in that arena at the time of writing. And, in any case, no matter what I say digital is here to stay.

But I have spotted a danger, which I have called the dictatorship of the algorithm.

I shall give you some examples.

1. I search for a greengrocer on a certain search engine. They list a few, on page one. But there are a large number of greengrocers not displayed, or not on page one. The reason for that is not because they are not excellent greengrocers, but because they have not paid large money to be there. It is a marketing thing - a separate blog, I suggest. But essentially, a big of computer program is deciding what I see.

2. A friend of mine posts an interesting thing about their life on Facebook. I would have been interested. But I don't see it, because it skips my timeline, because Facebook chooses what I see, unless I intervene. Days go by with me knowing nothing of my friends new recipe for bulrush tartar, and that is not because of my friend, nor because of me, but because a bit of computer program is making decisions for me.

This has two outcomes. First, businesses spend time chasing algorithms, which is an elusive art, and in which we are fighting digital giants with large pockets. Secondly, increasingly my attempts to find local businesses are thwarted and I keep getting redirected to bit portal sites.

I am not taking a bash at algorithms here. But I am encouraging us to regain the art of research more. Use the tools of search engines, but do not be told what to do by them.

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