Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

Internet activist and New York Times bestselling author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Eli Pariser is concerned that information gatekeepers of the past (i.e. editors/reporters) have been replaced by algorithms that individually tailor information based upon a host of variables that are being collected from you with or without your express knowledge or permission. The upshot is, you and your neighbor can complete a Google search on the same term at the same moment in time and receive completely different results that may or may not point to the news that is most important. In fact, given the nature of the algorithms, it is more likely that we will receive the news we want (safe, fun, comfortable) rather than the news we need (challenging, uncomfortable). What are the implications of such information pruning if the foundation of a free society is access to accurate information? Do you think most people know that editorial “middle man” of the 20th century has been replaced by an algorithm?

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