Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Using The Algorithm As Your Partner

We all know that algorithms are constantly attempting to “guide” us in our choices. It’s just an inescapable part of being alive in 2018, and it will undoubtedly become woven deeper and deeper into the fabric of our lives as time goes on. And this isn’t necessarily a completely bad thing. But it cannot be the only way we discover new things.

We still have to be engaged in the process of discovery – we must use the algorithm as our partner. We must learn to exploit it, before allowing it to exploit us first. In a world of infinite choices, we can use it as a blunt instrument if we choose, or we can (at least attempt) to choose not to use it at all. Because here’s the thing – if you are looking for new music in a library of 30 million songs (Spotify & Apple for example), you need some fucking help here – you’ll be long dead before you can randomly (or even purposefully) work your way through it. But here’s where old school meets new school: you can combine the algorithms recommendations with word of mouth. Remember that? That’s where other people recommend stuff, whether it’s people you know directly or just other passionate fans talking about it in different mediums. What’s cool about today is – there are a lot of outlets for people to express themselves without a corporate sponsor. Blogs and podcasts, for example.

Algorithms aren’t going away, so the smart thing to do is try to use them for our own purposes. We can continue to search for interesting stuff the way we always have, just by jumping down rabbit holes and following the trail from one thing to another. And while we are doing this, the algorithms are dutifully watching what we do, trying to figure out what we want to see next. Nothing wrong with using that as an effective search tool in it’s own right…