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OPLIN 4Cast #749: The impact of algorithms grows, but is that a good thing?

Posted in 4cast, and Algorithms

In the past several months, I have become somewhat addicted to scrolling through TikTok. This is no accident; the algorithm seems to have grasped immediately what sort of content I like. So much so that it seems eerily psychic in understanding my preferences with a proficiency I’ve not seen on any other social media platform.

However, this same algorithm can punish content creators by making their content difficult to discover. TikTok is also gaining a reputation for removing content for indiscernible reasons. A fair number of creators have simply discovered that their content has been removed, under the banner of having somehow violated “community standards”–even when that content is what most people would consider inoffensive. Clearly, the TikTok algorithm is powerful, but has a long way to go to make it truly transparent…or even accurate. Algorithms are beginning to control our lives in more ways than we might know.

  • Researchers Warn: AI Algorithms Can Influence People’s Voting and Dating Decisions [SciTech Daily] “Overall, the experiments showed that the algorithms had a significant influence on participants’ decisions of whom to vote for or message. For political decisions, explicit manipulation significantly influenced decisions, while covert manipulation was not effective. The opposite effect was seen for dating decisions.”
  • Can Algorithms Run Your Entire Business? [CDO Trends] “But now, the future is looking very different. COVID-19 made established business models redundant. We became more reliant on data-driven algorithms to keep us in touch with our business, our customers, and even our competitors. As bots and AI become part of the new business normal, and as data science takes mega leaps forward, algorithms are about to shape the business landscape.”
  • When it comes to stopping misinformation, it’s not the speech. It’s the algorithms [Marketplace] “When the right complains about shadow banning, this is actually what they’re talking about. They’re talking about when content that they like gets limited in the algorithm. And there’s a big argument to be made that free speech is the right to say something. Nowhere in the Constitution does it give you a right to be amplified by a private company.”
  • How social media recommendation algorithms help spread hate [Engadget] ““Social media platforms use algorithms that shape what billions of people read, watch and think every day, but we know very little about how these systems operate and how they’re affecting our society,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told POLITICO ahead of the hearing. “Increasingly, we’re hearing that these algorithms are amplifying misinformation, feeding political polarization and making us more distracted and isolated.””

From the Ohio Web Library: