Addictive algorithms

Seth Godin, the famous American author, more than that, a thinker and a marketing guru I would say, said that we have to write daily. He writes daily blogs Inspired by that, I am planning to write more regularly, if not daily.

The topic that I am writing today is how powerful algorithms and statistical models are contributing to our addictions to scroll the feed.

Around 13 years ago or so, it was the era of Orkut, and Facebook also entered the market. I used to like Facebook a lot. At that time, content on the homepage feed was all from my friends arranged chronologically . But something changed and the control over the homepage feed was taken over by Facebook. I was not happy that Facebook is controlling what I have to see on my page.

Now in 2020, the algorithm determined homepage is more of a norm: Twitter, Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, you name it. Most of the views on Netflix are from the recommended section. That shows the power of these models. Models can detect the underlying patterns so accurately that the model knows more than what we consciously know about ourselves. Over time and with more data, it only gets better. Of course, this is both scary and interesting, at the same time.

One big potential application would be in the education sector, to design courses and content in such a way that it maximizes learners' engagement and keeps him/her hooked.

In the short run, tech companies will be happy that views and app usage are up. But the question for which I don't know the answer is, what will the impact of these addictive algorithms in the long run.

What will be the tipping point? Will we get bored with the recommendations? Will the models evolve with changing taste and keep us continually hooked?