What if optimization was an enemy of “good”?


I was inspired to do this post, thanks to Gregory Pouy, who wrote

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about the speech that Eli Pariser, director of moveon.org and author of the book “The Filter Bubble — What Internet is Hiding From You” gave at TED 2011. This is a critical analysis of personnalization algorithms of Internet portals. As you have certainly noticed, your Facebook “newsfeed” (as well as your searches on Google or Yahoo) don’t always show the same results depending on the computer you’re using. I personally noticed that my Facebook newsfeed wasn’t the same when I went from my MacBook to my iPad. Try it yourself by researching on Google the same topic with a group of friends. See the different results that come up– everything is differnt. This is because your browser history is used to “optimize” a result for you, depending on what’s already been clicked on– the risk of course, is hiding information that could be enriching. For Eli Pariser, the trend in “customization” robs us of hearing what the opposition has to say, discovering new ways of doing something and even blinding us from various news stories. If you’re interested, in learning more about Eli Pariser’s views on personnalization, I recommend the interview conducted by Maria Popova (TBWA community manager) conducted on her blog BrainPickings, click here. Enjoy!

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