Tyranny Of The Algorithm
My decision to pursue Blogging was based on the fact that it seemed like it provided a path to individual freedom.
I didnt need to incur the massive costs of a printing press to get my point across to a potential audience of millions across the Globe, and in my view this seemed like a really good proposition.
All I needed was a Website, a Laptop and some dedication….Or so I thought.
Chasing The Algorithm
The use of Algorithms is ubiquitous, and its no surprise that they are used to make sense of the sea of information we constantly put on the Web…In a sense, their dominance is an inevitable practical necessity.
Nevertheless, until you experience what its like to ‘chase the Algorithm’ as I have because you want to achieve better search results in Google for instance, the true impact of Algorithms on Society and Civilization itself may be lost.
In my case, it has slowly dawned on me that more and more, my success in the Internet World depends on my ability to comply with the Criteria of an Algorithm. This phenomenon of ‘Chasing the Algorithm’ dominates the Internet space with everyone peddling their ‘secret sauce’.
Ultimately, my experience has convinced me that we are moving closer and closer to a time when Human behaviour will be directed not at pleasing other Human beings, but at meeting the demands of Algorithms.
We are shifting more and more towards an impersonal world in which survival will depend not on our ability to excel at the social skills that we have previously evolved and honed over thousands of years, but instead it will now depend on our ability to meet the demands of an impersonal Master whom we cannot appeal or address directly.
A new kind of E-God as it were whose prime Directives will determine the outcome of our lives and not the quality of our relationships with fellow Human beings.
Brave New World
It would be a mistake to think that such a shift requires advanced Artificial Intelligence…The basic Artificial Intelligence of the Algorithms presently in use is sufficient to accomplish the Task.
In-fact, their basic nature is ideally suited for adapting Human behaviour because they are essentially Blunt instruments incapable of adapting to the nuances and complexity of Human behaviour, and in their rigidity they compel Human beings to fit into the narrow ‘Box’ or list of their requirements as the only means of obtaining the reward that flows from ticking whatever Boxes the Algorithm is inputted or programed to demand.
The link between satisfying the requirements of Algorithms and rewards to Human beings seems to be the biggest ongoing Pavlovian Experiment in Mass Social Control going on at the moment. With the rise of the Internet, it would seem that as Human beings, our behaviour and the way we go about achieving our happiness and goals is now more and more at the mercy of Algorithms.
In order to get the reward we want, we must comply with the Algorithm’s requirements, and in learning how to ‘please’ impersonal Algorithms in order to obtain rewards or benefits in the real world, our basic motivations, survival strategies and Evolution are being altered whether we are aware of it or not.
In ‘Who Owns The Future’, Jaron Lanier delves deep into the subject with thought provoking ideas that paint a grim picture of a dystopian Algorithm driven Brave New World much more sinister than anything Huxley could imagine…At least the people in Huxley’s world had Soma…There are no such pleasurable consolations in our Algorithm driven future.
Ultimately, this post is a reflection on my own individual ‘Chase Of The Algorithm’…A rat race I never thought I would have to run because I thought the Internet represented the highest ideals of freedom where my visibility would depend mainly on my relationships with other Human beings and not on my ability to satisfy the criteria of Algorithms.
At the end of the day, I’m glad I decided to actually pursue what it takes to succeed as a Blogger/Publisher on the Internet today because I fear that if I had not, then this Brave New World would have dawned upon me much too late.
I fear that with the rise of Algorithms we may be stepping from the frying Pan into the fire…The Pavlovian experiment appears to already be in effect, and will not be announced by some dramatic ‘Rise Of The Machines’.
Peep the Documentary Algorithms Rule Us All below, and join us for our ongoing African Colonial Resistance Movements feature..Next up is Samori Toure’s Mandinka Rebellion.