That's how algorithms control our lives without us realizing

Algorithms are controlling your life - Vox

The Internet and many other technologies we use daily have become an essential tool for us. But while they don't look like they give us a lot of freedom, there are thousands of algorithms that have power over all our decisions.

Today we live surrounded by technology. No matter where we are, we are always accompanied by various devices, even if they are as common as our smartphones.

And the technology we use is accompanied by very complex elements that users are not always aware of. At the end of the day, we don't usually think too much about the software and parts that make up the devices we use.

Also, behind the software, we use daily some details tend to go unnoticed. Details that, without us realizing it, affect our experience with networks and technology in general.

We refer in particular to algorithms. Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft... All these companies, and many others, have algorithms intended to know every detail of users' lives.

And that detailed information isn't used just to know more about our use of our devices and the internet. Algorithms also have another very important task: to guide users.

How Algorithms Impact Our Decisions

You may not know what we mean by this, but it's a lot more obvious than it might seem. The easiest thing is to explain it with a few examples, so you can see the influence of algorithms on our day-to-day life.

Imagine you're entering Amazon from your computer to make a purchase. You find the product you want, and you leave the page. A few hours later, you use your smartphone and enter any website from your browser.

And on the side, among the ads on that website, there's one from Amazon, with the same kind of product you were looking for that same morning. That, and many other similar experiences, are a consequence of algorithms.

All these algorithms have a lot more influence on our lives than you might think. And in this article, we will take a look at some of the examples of the effect of algorithms on our day today.

Choosing who you know
Even the most disconnected and less popular people to use the internet as a form of leisure have or have at some point had social networks or accounts in different applications and forums intended to meet people.

We currently socialize through the Internet. We keep in touch with our friends on social media and apps, meet new people through the same media, and even search for a partner online.

With each of these interactions, the companies that control the services we use obtain data about our tastes and preferences, how we socialize, and what kind of people make up our environment.

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And with each of those details, these companies learn about our preferences regarding social interactions and relationships. Basically, algorithms reveal the patterns of our personal relationships.

That fact, which might seem totally harmless and irrelevant to general traits, has several considerable effects on our personal relationships and all interactions, we perform daily.

Think, for example, about the case of Twitter. You open an account and, a few hours later, the recommended users section lists the accounts of several of your friends, your favorite actors, and even a partner when you went to school and haven't spoken to for years.

Why does Twitter have all that information? How did he know which accounts he should recommend to you so accurately? Algorithms of this type are usually quite complex, but they have it easy enough to get the information they need.

Or rather, we make it pretty easy for him. As soon as we open an account on any social network, we provide various data to the platform, such as our email or phone number.

10 technology trends that will impact our lives in 2020 | VentureBeat

Through this data, which we will surely have used on other social networks and numerous websites, the network begins to weed. That data is used to link that newly created account to others you regularly use.

After creating that link, knowing who we know is relatively simple. Simply review our contacts on other social networks, or contrast the data we have provided for registration with those we have used on other websites.

Also, as soon as we start using a social network we are giving more and more data to the algorithms, which allows them to get to know each other even better. For example, if we follow multiple people with a common hobby, social media will start showing us users with the same hobby.

And when we follow people who have multiple contacts in common, algorithms cross those contacts to calculate the probabilities that we will also know one of those people.

That is, algorithms take all the information we give them, either consciously or unconsciously, and use it to guide us to other people they think may be of interest to us.

Information bubble
Currently, most people obtain information over the internet. Whether it's a simple data query or being up to date with news from our country and the rest of the world, the internet puts all that information at our fingertips.

And when it comes to finding circles where there is an ideology similar to ours, often to continue to inform us on a specific topic, we also find an easy answer on the internet.

With any quick google search or any other search engine, we can find numerous sources in which to get the information we need in an instant.

However, like everything on the internet, it has its trick. As with social media, algorithms are responsible for learning everything they can about our interests to give us concrete information.

In such environments algorithms are designed to provide us with information that we are statistically more likely to choose to access. And as every click counts, there is a great interest in getting the results as accurate for the user as possible.

For a user to enter a link to be high, the best option is to first show those results that will pique the interest of the person who performed the search.

So, when we perform any information search, the algorithms analyze all the data they have of us. Every detail about our ideology, our political preferences, and opinions, our convictions... Everything is reflected in one way or another in our use of the Internet.

Designing AI Systems That Customers Won't Hate

After careful collection of all this data, the algorithms are put to do calculations. Which media are most in line with each user's ideas? What websites offer information that the user will value positively?

With all the information they have about us, algorithms have it pretty easy. They are clear about our preferences, and they do their best to offer us the best possible options.

All of this could seem like a big plus for us, as it makes it very easy to find the exact content we want. But as beneficial as it may seem, it presents a considerable problem.

This problem is the bubble effect, and it can seriously affect our perception and judgment without us being aware of it. Based on giving us only the information according to our ideas, algorithms completely skewed our perception of reality.

At the end of the day, they're making us just see one side of the story. It can happen for example with unre relevant news, of which we end up reading the details only in a couple of media that we consult frequently.

Here's what you want to buy
Online consumption, whether in the form of online shopping or through the use of streaming platforms in our leisure time, has made us have countless options.

As consumers, this is often an advantage. We have a greater variety of products to choose from, a variety of prices so that we can choose those that fit our needs...

How algorithms (secretly) run the world

All this variety makes us feel more in control, greater decision-making power over every consumer object we face in our day-to-day life.

But it's just that, a feeling. Algorithms create a fantasy, a facade in front of the products we consume that makes us believe that we have control over the situation.

The reality is that our consumption of any kind is controlled by algorithm s. As with all other fields, algorithms collect information about our consumption habits and preferences and use them to guide us to specific products.

This can be an advantage on certain occasions, as it makes it easy for us to choose a specific product, or find products from brands that inspire us with confidence.

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