We’ve entered the age of the algorithm.
In a way, it was inevitable: thanks to the rise of smartphones and social media, we’re surrounded by vast, unfiltered streams of information, dripped to us via “feeds” on sites like Facebook and Twitter. As a result, we needed something to tame all that information, because an unfiltered stream is about as useful as no information at all. So we turned to a type of algorithm which could help separate the signal from the noise: basically, a set of steps which would calculate which information should be prioritised, and which should be hidden.
I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks..Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity.
Four years ago, the 90,000 workers at Atos, a global IT-services company based in France, averaged 15 to 20 hours a week reading and writing e-mails to one another. E-mail “was becoming a burden to our employees rather than an enabler,” says human resources chief Philippe Mareine. So management issued a startling request: Stop it. Instead of e-mailing, employees were urged to communicate through an in-house social network called BlueKiwi.
Love it or hate it, most choose to keep it at hand. The smartphone has become an integral resource for receiving and processing information. U.S. adults spend nearly two full days per month using apps on their smartphones, according to Nielsen research.
Delvv Inc. – a mobile app development company newly relocated to 166 Main St. in Los Altos – seeks to streamline the input. Founded in 2013, the startup company applies machine learning and predictive analysis to address information overload on mobile devices.
In this era of information overload, it’s easy to point our fingers at the internet and all its glorious distractions for turning us into scatterbrains. Yet, as those of us whose tendency to forget our keys in the mailbox or our coffee on the car roof started way before the advent of Twitter know, there’s a line between getting easily distracted now and then and being a full-fledged scatterbrain. For a true scatterbrain, daily life is both a struggle and infinitely interesting — and the internet has nothing to do with it.
He outlines his concern about the effects on the brain in his book The Organised Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.
Levitin says each time we dispatch an email, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something. When we look at a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird, impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones.
Want to know what a supermoon is? Google has the answer. Want to know what your friend had for dinner? Facebook can fill you in.
It has never been easier to get information – it’s quite literally at our fingertips and it has become normal to know more about the daily habits of strangers on the internet than you do about your nearest and dearest.
We seem to be eager to plug into the overwhelming information the digital age has to offer us too: Facebook has over a billion registered accounts and Twitter around 316 million monthly active accounts.
When was the last time software billed as a “communication platform” actually made you more productive? If we measure productivity by the number of emails we get in our inbox every day, we’re doing great. If we measure it by the number of tweets we receive, the Facebook posts we read and the meetings we attend, wow, are we productive.
Every time somebody says to me, “It’s so impressive how you manage to get writing done despite being on Facebook/Twitter/etc. all the time,” I cringe. I’ve been hit by a backhanded compliment. I’m surfing, tweeting and emailing — leaving my digital prints everywhere and probably picking up some nasty computer viruses — while serious writers are working pristinely, heroically beyond the clutches of the Internet. (more…)
A tourist in Australia had to be rescued by police after plunging off a pier while browsing Facebook on her phone, officials said Wednesday.
The woman was walking along a bay in Melbourne on Monday night when she became distracted by her Facebook feed and plummeted off the pier into the chilly water, Victoria state police said.