Jordan Altman: Week 4

I was very intrigued by chapter one of The Filter Bubble, written by Eli Pariser. He begins the chapter by explaining the 1990’s tech search for a perfect agent, or a computer programmed machine that could display extremely high levels of intelligence. Nevertheless, Apple and Microsoft, two of the biggest players in the game (then and now), failed to create a successful agent that changed technology and society.

Pariser then goes into the development of Amazon.com, Google, and FaceBook- three of the largest forces in the 21st century (end of 20th). What I find to be extremely important is the idea of click-signals, which is the concept of recording every move (click) by every user within these domains. The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, understood the important of A.I. and wanted to learn more and more (as much as possible) about their users interests. Nowadays, advertisements are based on the fact that websites like Google, Facebook, and Amazon know who their users age, interests, and locations. Thus, they can personalize the ads to best reflect their specific users. Pariser then argues that this concept drives internet usage far more than most understand- quite similar to the original idea of the agent with Microsoft and Apple.

To go into a different direction, Morozov’s chapter, Orwell’s favorite Lolcat, reveals information that explains how popular the internet and other forms of social media actually are in Communist countries, like the Soviet Union, China, and the GDR, because internet and television entertainment keep them away from paying too much attention to politics (the job of the government). Because of the fact that Communist countries seem to have a stronger grasp of their citizens, it is interesting to think about how the governments gather information from websites similar, and including, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

The question I pose based on these readings is, what will be future developments in technology as data-collection techniques begin to re-revolutionize the internet?

~Jordan

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1 Response to Jordan Altman: Week 4

  1. jgemuend says:

    I believe that a scene from the movie “Minority Report” captures an excellent guess as to where advertising and data-collection technologies are headed. Here is a link to that scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQbVD5hlddk
    In this clip we see the main character being directly advertised to, and not by choice. Computers are scanning parts of your body, in this case eyes, in order to recognize you. In this type of a world, there would be no public places where advertising could not follow you. I truly believe that advertising will attempt to link to your body, instead of being limited by the mediation of a computer. My hope is that this never comes to reality, because I don’t think this would be a good thing for society.

    Nevertheless, you mention your intrigue about the connections between governments and how they use websites to gather information about people. I am sure that investigative and intelligence agencies of the government most likely have ways of learning about individuals based on their internet habits. It may be interesting if in the future governments are allowed to access demographic and personal data from companies for “security” purposes. If companies and businesses already have enough information about you that they can begin calculating your actions, are you not somewhat afraid of a “Minority Report” type world coming to being? I personally value my privacy, and I certainly don’t want companies and governments that may become corrupt to be able to have this type of leverage on me. I too, would also like to see how governments coordinate with websites for data-collection. I would also like to see just how much information websites can gather simply from me using the internet.

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