Showing posts from February, 2022

A Call for Milquetoastification

There's a sentence in System Error  that contained so many disparate elements, I needed to unpack it: We must confront the algorithmic sorting of users into filter bubbles that contribute to growing polarization, extremism, and decreasing social trust, all of which threaten the health of democracy. This is stated baldly, and with no explanation, so I'd like to examine two questions: First, are these things related in a self-evident way? and second, what are the causal chains at play? Photo by  Alexander Dummer  from  Pexels First, let's consider filter bubbles. Is this a concept that the general public understands well? Perhaps, but let me explain it just to be clear. In the early days of mass media, there was no way to individualize news and entertainment content to tailor it to the individual interests and world views of each consumer. Outlets had their own ideological bent, but given the limitations of the platforms and market pressure to be as broadly applicable as poss