I found the Pariser chapters to be extremely interesting to read because it helped timeline the growth of using algorithms for search engines. From Amazon to Google and then Facebook, it became evident that these algorithms could change the way that the public uses the internet and businesses capitalize on it. Chapter one included a quote about the aim of Facebook saying that it was attempting to “make the whole Web “social” and bring Facebook-style personalization to millions of sites that currently lack it.” The ability to tell the consumer that this is what they like and then these are things that they probably would (or should) like too is absolutely revolutionary and was unthinkable at the start of the internet.
It is a bit scary to me that the internet knows who my friends are and what links I frequently check in order to provide me with different options of things to look at, but I can appreciate the idea behind it and the pure genius. Pariser also talks about The You Loop which is basically how amazing it is that the internet can be personalized to show you things that are of interest to you. The main issue with this is that you could be potentially missing out on information that you would value but was practically censored because of what a computer chose.
Morozov made many interesting points, but the one that I want to highlight is about how people are less interested in politics because they are distracted by their “gadgets” or whatnot. “While we thought the Internet might give us a generation of ‘digital renegades,’ it may have given us a generation of ‘digital captives,’ who know how to ﬁnd comfort online, whatever the political realities of the physical world. For these captives, online entertainment seems to be a much stronger attractor than reports documenting human rights abuses by their own governments.” I would like to hope that this isn’t the case, but it truly intrigues me that my generation appears to be given this enormous gift and we have done nothing but use it the wrong way.
The question I pose is:
Is sacrificing our right to choose what information we see on the internet because of search engines like Google worth it? Would you rather have to search through every single possible online document yourself?