In this short but important TED talk, Eli Pariser talks about the hidden dangers of increasingly ‘junk food’ algorithms. If Facebook and Google give us more of what we have already ‘liked’, we reach the information equivalent of receiving all dessert, no vegetables.
Becoming more and more isolated from what we don’t like, in Pariser’s view, goes against the web’s early promise of greater inter-connectivity. Beyond the impact on our own creative intelligence, such an shift has ramifications for wider democratic society – propelled forward by debating differing points of view.
This talk occurred with many of the guilty parties in the room, and stands as a great defense of something I personally care about – the chancing upon real, human curated websites – with all the sloppiness and personal idiosyncrasies that that entails.
Sex researchers recently gained access to a billion internet searches, and found out some of the differences between what we say we like, and what we actually like. A case in point – one-third of the subscribers to Today’s Christian Women seek out erotica online (the rest are just perverts).
It’s good news week at the NYTimes today. Two nice tech developments: Line2 is an apple app that lets you turn your iPhone (or iPod touch!) into a wifi telephone. Use it to create second phone lines to your iPhone, escape from AT&T, or make a serious dent to your phone bill. Works (and looks) just like the usual iPhone interface.
The other gem is Fast Pencil – touted for its ability to let writers gain feedback from others, including professionals. I personally like its free writing and storing of documents in the cloud – and seriously cheap print on demand. You can self design and print off a single copy of your book for under $10. Fast Pencil also can help you get your own ISBN number, and set up sales through Amazon.
Good (or at least hopeful) news from the Middle East, too. A resurgence in non-violent approaches from some Palestinians, and tentative movements towards a US Peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. Favorite quote about pulling one together: “it’s not rocket science.” It’s balming just to hear it.