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Archive for September, 2011

Ideas worth spreading…

This is the tagline for the growing website TED, a collection of video talks and conferences that are free to the world. It’s one of my favorite websites to go to in my frequent spells of major procrastination, and I’d like to argue that I many even leave TED just a little bit smarter.

One video that really stuck with me in my perusing earlier this summer was a presentation on search engines, specifically focusing on Facebook and Google. Eli Pariser, former Executive Director of Moveon.org, shows viewers how the custom tailoring that websites do for us may actually be hurting us.

Before viewing this video, I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about the subject. Sure, I appreciate Google’s efforts to hone in on my interests and find information accordingly for my daily Google searches, random thoughts, and interests. But that was until I found out that I could potentially be missing out on a lot.

As Pariser demonstrates, it’s not just through search engines, but Facebook too is also blocking us from certain information. This could be information that challenges our own views (political, social, or economic), but regardless, there is a good chance that we aren’t seeing it. These algorithmic sites are fairly certain that these are the results that we want to see…but are these the results that we need? Seeing this video made me realize that problems in communication, political and social understanding, privacy, and personalization could easily result in the near future.

“It will be very had for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.” – Eric Schmidt, Google

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