The Internet and what we actually see when searching on Google is all based on algorithms. Set up to try and tailor our searches to what we will want to find, what we will want to look at and what we will want to learn. The problem with that though, is will we ever learn anything new?
In a TED talk, Eli Pariser talks about how these algorithms are creating ‘filter bubbles’ for users. This means that we will only ever see certain things, things that Google and Facebook think what we want to see, things that are ‘tailored’ to us based on what we normally look at. Yet, all of the other information circling around in the internet, which may in fact be quite interesting to us, or teach us something new, we will never see.
During this talk Eli mentions how two people could Google the exact same thing, at the exact same time, yet both could come out with completely different results. And here I was thinking I was just really bad at researching.
The main problem with this, is that no-one has any idea. Apart from those pop-up adverts about car engines after searching for one car part for your dad for fathers day, there’s no signs that your feeds or Google results are any different from anyone else’s. It’s invisible and there is no way of seeing or even knowing what information is available outside your bubble. The death of a squirrel down your road could be more relevant to children dying in Africa to you, so you get the squirrel on your feed and become completely oblivious to anything else happening in and across the world. This can’t be right.
The internet was the mirror showing us the whole world. Now, it’s smashed and the image reflecting back is only part of the whole picture. The internet is supposed to teach us, open our minds. Not obscure our thoughts and suppress our knowledge.
So, take a look at the mentioned conference in the video below, I found it extremely interesting and it’s opened my eyes, so lets open everyone else’s.