Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TED Talks Filter Bubbles

I love TED talks! The most interesting topics are discussed:


The one I listened to today concerns what Eli Pariser calls "Filter Bubbles." Did you realize that when you search for something on the web, it is personalized for you? For example, Amazon knows what you've looked at before and what you've purchased, and it shows you things that you might be interested in based on that. Facebook, Netflix, and the Huffington Post do, too. What these sites "know" about you determines what you will see when you search on them. Did you know the same goes for Google? If two of us search for the same thing on Google, using the same words, we will not get the same results. The results will be based on what Google "knows" about each of us. This is remarkable to me.

What this TED talk points out is that those who are writing the algorithms for the Internet have to reconsider these "filter bubbles" that they create for us, these personalized search results. Take a look at his TED talk. It's only nine minutes long:

The ramifications of this for education are so huge. Students searching for information but only seeing the information that agrees with things they've accessed in the past. Teachers searching for information and not digging deep enough to find what they really need. Any of us travelers looking for current news about a place but seeing a bunch of travel links.

Wow! This is one of many important concepts we owe it to our students to teach them. Who knew?