The Algorithm (dun dun DUUUUUN!)


I was watching this video about different music players on Linux the other day, just to see what all was out there, and the guy was talking about his reasons for keeping a personal music library on his hard drive when streaming services exist. One thing he said that I found really interesting is that he doesn't like having his music taste curated for him by an algorithm. Now, first of all, "algorithm" is kind of a buzzword at this point. Anti social media people use it all the time "Aw, dude you gotta break free from the machine man! Don't let the algorithm control you bro!...etc." But then I started thinking about how many of the things I'm interested in now were decided for me by Spotify or Instagram or whatever and it really started to freak me out.

While I think it is a little cliché to just detest algorithms because it's the "machine", it makes sense to be bothered by it. Not because having songs recommended to you by a robot is worse than having them recommended by a person, but because if there's a way to manipulate what large groups of people like and dislike, that can very easily be misused. Maybe it already has?