In a previous post I lamented on the information hyperinflation and called for digital noise reduction. Today I would like to point to problem with this approach: By reducing noise you may also narrow your horizon.
Digital techniques supposedly help you shifting through large amounts of information by reducing this avalanche to digestible pieces related to your interests.
Sounds great: A site filters out the non-relevant and shows you only what it thinks matters to you.
By filtering out information that some system deems not relevant you will also filter out information that you personally would have thought to be relevant.
Eli Pariser wrote about this and our ensuing tunnel view of the world. He calls it the “Filter Bubble”. A kind of giant Truman Show. We are all predisposed to select and read only information sources whose views we share – have you recently read a political blog with contrarian views to your own?
He is of the opinion that commercial interests of the big players such as Google, Facebook, etc. are driving this development. If you want lots of people on your site, you want to provide them with relevant content and if you want to make money you also should provide them with relevant ads.
Your ensuing personal online profile becomes a tradable commodity: But x-profiles of a certain type into your sales funnel and you will sell y-amount of goods to this group. (Just to note: At Memonic we don’t sell any personal information and don’t do any profiling beyond user experience optimization).
Live is not a straight line and a person cannot be identified singularly in a profile. Our personality develops, our living arrangements may change, so may our interests – today I like dancing, may be tomorrow cooking.
Serendipity – happenstance, coincidence and a chance encounter may put our live on a different trajectory.
Good knowledge curation takes note: It will not try to solve information overflow and digital noise reduction through computer algorithms alone. Human interposition in sourcing, selecting, and assessing stays relevant.