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How Algorithms & Confirmation Bias Keep Us From Clear & Honest Thoughts & Opinions

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Monday, September 25, 2023

All our thoughts and opinions boil down to the decision to be a person of honesty and integrity. Or not. Many people worship at the altar of their own ego and only form and accept beliefs that make them comfortable and boost their ego. Objective facts and truths are irrelevant because their godhood is the arbitrator of truth and lies. Below is an excellent summary in text and a three-minute Aperture video (330,000 views) of this critical mental and moral shortcoming.  

"Algorithms are great. They bring everything we want right to our doorsteps, but there’s one big problem. Slowly, they’re beginning to dictate our lives. 
"They’re starting to think for us.  

"First, it’s content-based platforms like YouTube and Netflix suggesting things for you to watch. Soon, you’re watching everything not because you searched for it, but because the algorithm suggested it. And to a large extent, this looks harmless. It exposes you to content you otherwise might not have seen and gives smaller creators the chance to blow up without having an established pedigree. It’s literally the reason Aperture has grown to the size it’s at today. 

"But then you have Amazon’s algorithm that tells you all the products you should add to your cart alongside the one purchase you made. Then Gmail Smart Reply telling you how to reply to emails, and Tinder telling you who to spend the rest of your life with.


"Before you know it, we give the algorithm the driver’s seat and we become passengers in our own lives, merely coasting through the roads we are suggested. 

"This in and of itself is a problem. But the fact that the algorithm is not perfect makes it an even bigger problem. For one, the algorithms that are now thinking for us don’t actually think. They simply find patterns and parrot them. Once they realize we like or agree with a certain thing, we are constantly fed with that one thing. And in a short while, we find ourselves in an echo chamber, where everything we see and hear are only things we’ve agreed with in the past. 

"It doesn’t give much room for change, for growth, for the opportunity to listen to opposing arguments and learn. Think about it, how many times have you randomly found a video on YouTube that you completely disagreed with? Compare that to how many times you’ve found a video that you enjoyed and you completely agreed with. 

"The difference is probably incredible. 

"And the better the algorithms become, the better they would be at serving you information that you already agree with. This leads to confirmation bias. The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports your prior beliefs or values. Because these algorithms constantly surround us with ideas that we already agree with, we quickly block our minds to every shred of evidence that contradicts this bias. 

"There’s a subtle difference between the desire to have been right and the desire to be right. The desire to have been right prevents us from seeing the real truth, causing us to hold on to ideas that might be logically and factually flawed. We fail to see how we’re wrong, and so we fail to learn and to grow. We hold on to beliefs that we have been surrounded by, so much so, that we start to seek out evidence to back up our bias and not to find out the truth. 

"The truth is that humans find it very difficult to process information in an unbiased and rational manner once they’ve developed strong feelings or sentiments about the issue. So, people interpret everything they see in a way that already agrees with everything they know and believe about the world." 

3 minutes 12 seconds - 6 minutes 14 seconds 

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Photo: https://flamingtext.com/Word-Logos/opinion/ 

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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