19 Jun

The Filter Bubble – Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee weighs in: “There’s danger in the filter bubble”

The filter bubble phenomenon, I think that noun is applied to the idea that a search engine can get to know you and so it can get to know the source of things it thinks you’re interested in. You will end up in a bubble because you will reward the search engine — you will go to the search engine — it feeds you things which you’re excited about and happy about and it won’t feed you things which get you thinking.

. . . As a result, you end up being dedicated to your tribe. You will never understand as a Yankee why the Red Sox were so ‘cachuffed’ to beat you a couple of years ago. As an Israeli you will never understand why you’re upsetting the Palestinian people. So, there’s danger in the filter bubble… Once you’re bracketed as somebody who buys pretty expensive stuff, the web won’t show you the cheap stuff and so you wont believe that the cheap stuff exists. You’ll have a twisted view of the world.

So I think that’s a really interesting thing. Somebody mentioned the Web Science Trust. [This] discussion is very much what I call a web science issue, if you look at this sort of thing you really have to look at humanity connected as a very large system and you have to use a lot of different… you have to use sociology, psychology, you have to use economics and you have to use mathematics as well as computer science to figure out the web and figure out what the implications of this will be.

via The Filter Bubble – Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee weighs in: “There’s danger in the filter bubble”. For a long time I went back and forth on worrying about this and I’ve settled on worrying about it, I’m just not sure of a solution. There are unfortunately a variety of factors that cause someone to even in the face of contradictory evidence to stick with their already decided opinion or as Tim Berners-Lee calls it their tribe. So even if search engines and social media sites steer people towards information that was more neutral, who knows if it would make a difference. While the internet makes it easier to gain access to information outside of your normal world view (ie. what you observe and see in people around you) data-mining makes it easier to only display information that validates and connects with you, and for a business displaying information that connects tends to be a stronger model.