How Accurate Is Your Algorithm?

Most people these days have an active online life. In that life, much of the online content is delivered via algorithm. Is that algorithm any good?

Of course, different websites employ different algorithms. The basic idea is the same in each case, however: if you like this thing, you will also like this other thing.

These programs appear just about everywhere online. For example, when you watch a YouTube video, a YouTube algorithm suggests other videos that you may also want to watch.

Not only are these programs ubiquitous, they are crucial to any good website. In the above example, if the YouTube algorithm does not suggest videos you actually want to watch, then you may leave the platform altogether. So, from YouTube’s perspective, it is vitally important that the algorithm work as intended.

What may not be quite so obvious, however, is how important it is to you. There are so many videos available on YouTube that it is impossible to watch them all. In fact, without some way of singling out videos that have some interest to you, you would almost certainly become overwhelmed.

Of course, it is not just YouTube that employs an algorithm to deliver content. Social media sites do it as well. They may suggest other accounts you may want to follow, or posts you may want to see. Online stores use them to practice a modern-day version of an ages old technique of up-selling. Online advertisements, which use cookies to track your browsing habits, can be tailor made to get you to buy something.

In your experience, are these algorithms any good? Does Netflix suggest TV shows and movies that you actually want to watch? Does Amazon recommend products that actually end up in your shopping cart? Is your Facebook feed made up of posts that interest you?

How accurate is your algorithm?

Related questions: What makes us comment on social media? What do you get out of social media? How does technology influence your emotions? How does media manipulate you?

How Can You Be More Responsible Online?

These days, we all live a significant amount of our lives online. That naturally raises the question: how can we be responsible in our online lives?

Despite the fact that we have steadily increased the amount of time we spend online, not much good has come of it.

On a personal basis, the promise of the internet was to bring people together, even if separated by thousands of miles. While that happens, an increasing percentage of users feel more lonely and isolated than ever before. It is also true that it is remarkably easy to have your identity stolen.

Things aren’t much better on a societal level, either. On the plus side, anyone with an internet connection has access to a remarkable amount of information. Unfortunately, there is also more misinformation available as well. Rumors, lies, and conspiracy theories spread more quickly online than does the truth.

So what can we do about it?

One thing is for each of us to be more responsible in our online lives. This responsibility extends to how we protect our own information, how we behave to other online users, and what information we consume and share with others.

What, specifically, do you do to guard your personal information? What do you do to see someone as an individual when all they are to you is pixels on a screen? And how do you make sure you are not falling prey to hoaxes and lies that you might encounter on your internet travels?

Related questions: Can an internet friend be a true companion? Why does social media often bring out the worst in us? Are you addicted to your phone? What is your bubble?

Public Or Private?

Do you prefer things to be public or private? Does your answer change if you think about public or private institutions?

Share why if you wish.

Public Or Private?

Celebrity Or Anonymity?

People often dream about being famous, but celebrities tend to lose their privacy. Would you prefer celebrity or anonymity?

Share why if you wish.

Celebrity Or Anonymity?

What Do You Think About Facebook?

Facebook is one of the most influential companies of the last several decades. It has obviously been very successful in growing viewership, but there is plenty of controversy surrounding it as well.

Do you think it is overall a benefit or a detriment to society?

Share why if you wish.