More and more our lives are being controlled by mathematical calculations. Algorithms determine the results we get from search engines, the ads we see on the internet, the posts we see on Facebook.
They are also the only thing that explains the very unsuitable videos that are recommended to me on Youtube. First, I have to explain that I watch a strange variety of things on Youtube. True crime, bizarre history, the supernatural, Disney park information, oddball humor and so forth.
There are some subjects, however, that I never watch. So why, after watching a video about haunted castles in Scotland, does Youtube start pushing British soccer videos?
I see my favorite humor channel has a new video and immediately click. The host also makes gaming videos. The next time I go to Youtube, my recommendations are flooded with Fortnite.
Watch a Disney ride? Youtube decides I want to see roller coasters. Not the same thing. Watch a video about the wonderful Sherlock Holmes actor Jeremy Brett? I am suddenly awash in that awful Will Ferrell movie. Watch a trailer for a movie I actually do want to see, and I’m drowned in celebrity gossip.
But I have to ask myself… do I actually want the algorithms to get better? Do I want the internet to know me and my tastes? On one side is convenience, on the other… hmmm.
This was originally posted on my old blog, Middle Class Poor.