Kyle Chayka’s Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture:

Algorithmic recommendations are addictive because they are always subtly confirming your own cultural, political, and social biases, warping your surroundings into a mirror image of yourself while doing the same for everyone else. This had made me anxious, the possibility that my view of my own life lived through the Internet—was a fiction formed by the feeds. So much of my perception of what my friends were up to on a given day, what was going on in various cities, which news stories mattered, even the weather, was dictated by what I saw on automated apps. What’s more, those feeds were all increasingly fractured and flawed, presenting posts from days ago as if they had just happened. Ultimately, my sense of self was beholden to the responses I got from my invisible audiences, whose attention was algorithmically mediated, too. I wasn’t sure who I would be without algorithmic recommendations; I don’t know that anyone else who has spent years of their life on digital platforms can be totally sure. A fear took hold: In passively consuming what I was interested in, had I given up my agency to figure out what was truly meaningful to me?

March 15, 2024