Monday, September 30, 2013

Long Tails, and Machines, and Algorithms, Oh My!

Today’s discussion coupled with last week’s discussion about long tails got me thinking about the algorithms that are used in digital technology, particularly things like Google’s predictive search feature. The machine can anticipate what we want. Eerie.

(This was an awesome video I found about becoming an “Autocompleter” for Google. I think this was how they did it before they used algorithms. Haha!)

This was an interesting article from PC World about using the predictive algorithms. It touches on topics like Facebook friends, Pandora music, online dating, and Netflix movies.  The most fascinating thing to me, however, is that it points out that Google is changing the way we think because it is thinking for us. Because of this, we are not remembering as much as we used to because we rely on the internet to remember, in a way, for us.

So what do you think? Do you think we rely too much on these algorithms to tell us what we should think, or is it another nifty way to sort through all of the material that is online to find the information we are looking for?