' BESPOKE realities ' are getting ever harder to avoid. Algorithms have become too good at telling us what we think, we already know.

Combine vast choice with ''algorithmic''  sorting, and we now possess a remarkable ability to become arguably the most comprehensively, voluntarily and cooperatively misinformed generation of people ever to walk the earth.

The terms ''voluntarily''  and ''cooperatively'' are key. We don't live in North Korea, Russia or the People's Republic of China. We're drunk on freedom by comparison.

We're misinformed not because the government is systematically lying, or suppressing the truth. We're misinformed because we like the misinformation we receive and are eager for more.

The market is very, very happy to provide us with all the misinformation we like. ALGORITHMS recognize our preference and serve the next video or article that echoes or amplifies the themes of the first story we clicked.

Media outlets and politicians notice the online trends and serve up their own content that sometimes deliberately and sometimes mistakenly reinforces false narratives and constructive alternative realities.

THEN, as consumers interact with one another in these like-minded online spaces, they not only form new communities; they also begin shared journeys of discovery that construct, brick by brick, their new political, social and religious realities.

In a media ecosystem so large and full of nooks so precisely tuned to your biases and desires, you can always find evidence, real or imagined, to validate your priors.

Just as important, you're also protected from receiving any information that might cause you to question those priors.

The World Students Society thanks author David French.


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