Do you think you can find information about almost anything on the Internet?
Think again, because the data you find has been tailored for you. It is a selected truth, part of your personal digital ecosystem. A blow back, you might say, of your digital exhaust.
And this is all because of “filter bubbles.” What are they?
“A filter bubble is a result state in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behaviour and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. Prime examples are Google‘s personalised search results and Facebook‘s personalised news stream. The term was coined by internet activist Eli Pariser in his book by the same name; according to Pariser, users get less exposure to conflicting viewpoints and are isolated intellectually in their own informational bubble.” Wikipedia
I think we’ve always been limited in our thinking by the cultural ideas that surround us, but it worries me that we are now limited even more by our paths through the digital landscape. It’s a narrowing experience, a dumbing down of our potential. And if we can’t think large…we can’t dream large. We can only dream with things that float through our filter bubbles. Scary.
Here’s a great Ted talk by Eli Pariser:
Do filter bubbles worry you?