On Algorithms

Algorithms are not new, we have been using it in stock trading, ticket booking  etc. Just that in 2018 we are hearing more about it.

Four interesting scenarios happened in past few years.

  1. Emergence of cloud computing made processing fast cheap.
  2. Newer Open Source and proprietary technologies like Keras and TensorFlow took Deep Learning closer to consumers.
  3. Smartphones and increasing internet penetration led to production of mode data.
  4. Ease of access of information through mobile phones powered with various apps

We have companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. We are more connected with our peers via them, we exchange every bit of information using one of these mediums.  They know more about us than our government. We are minions on their platform connected to other minions. Our usage on these platform has created a persona of ours. This persona is used by these platforms to target ads and custom news feed (powered by algorithms, these platforms decides what we should see in out timeline).

Want to know what data these companies own about you?

  1. Google
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook via wired post

I don’t know if it is good or bad. But imagine a few scenarios:

  1. Your friend has passed away but Facebook algorithm does not show you the post about it.
  2. You are a Republican supporter and Democrats have paid to these platform to target you with all bad coverage the of Republican candidate in your region.
  3. You searched for wedding dress and now you see advertisement about it everywhere.
  4. You are suggested by the platform to add or follow your ex-gf/bf.
  5. When Netflix loads only its original in all the options for you to watch.

I get to hear about newer advancement in facial recognition, driverless cars and cures for rare diseases.

These are all good, but at what cost?

  • Making more people unemployed
  • Adding surveillance on citizens
  • Putting our doctors, scientists on autopilot

Time will tell where we are headed in next 20-30 years as algorithms will be taking over everything. It will tell us whom to marry, what to eat, where to travel, which candidate to select for a job, who gets a loan to or who to talk to.

What will happen to our consciousness if everything around us is  driven by algorithms ?