Pluralistic: Big Tech's "attention rents" (03 Nov 2023)

Today’s links Big Tech’s “attention rents”: Enshittification comes out of the barrel of an algorithm. Hey look at this: Delights to delectate. This day in history: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Big Tech’s “attention rents” (permalink) The thing is, any feed or search result is “algorithmic.” “Just show me the things posted by people I follow in reverse-chronological order” is an algorithm. “Just show me products that have this SKU” is an algorithm. “Alphabetical sort” is an algorithm. “Random sort” is an algorithm. Any process that involves more information than you can take in at a glance or digest in a moment needs some kind of sense-making. It needs to be put in some kind of order. There’s always gonna be an algorithm. But that’s not what we mean by “the algorithm” (TM). When we talk about “the algorithm,” we mean a system for ordering information that uses complex criteria that are not precisely known to us, and than can’t be easily divined through an examination of the ordering. There’s an idea that a “good” algorithm is one that does not seek to deceive or harm us. When you search for a specific part number, you want exact matches for that search at the top of the results. It’s fine if those results include third-party parts that are compatible with the part you’re searching for, so long as they’re clearly labeled. There’s room for argument about how to order those results…Pluralistic: Big Tech's "attention rents" (03 Nov 2023)

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