Thursday, February 21

The Internet shows us "what it thinks we want to see"

"...99 percent of us live on the wrong side of a one-way mirror, in which the other 1 percent manipulates our experiences. Some laud this trend as 'personalization'—which sounds innocuous and fun, evoking the notion that the ads we see might appear in our favorite color schemes. What we are talking about, however, is much deeper and significantly more consequential.
"For example, federal regulations make it illegal to discriminate in pricing access to credit based on certain personal attributes. But, as Natasha Singer recently reported in the New York Times, technical advances in mining online and offline data have made it possible to skirt the spirit of the law: companies can simply not make any offers to less credit-attractive populations. If you live on the wrong side of the digital tracks, you won't even see a credit offer from leading lending institutions, and you won't realize that loans are available to help you with your current personal or professional priorities." ...
"...the Internet shows us 'what it thinks we want to see' by serving up content that matches the hidden profiles created about us based on our daily online interactions. This behind-the-scenes curation reinforces our political points of view through online 'echo chambers' that affirm, instead of challenge, what we already believe to be true. As Harvard University scholar Cass Sunstein has written, liberals and conservatives who deliberate questions openly only with people of the same political stripe become more confident and extreme in their views."
From The Rich See a Different Internet Than the Poor in Scientific American

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