27 July 2011

The Filter Bubble

Written by Published in Book Reviews

The Internet has provided amazing opportunities to explore and learn, and to push beyond a static conception of identity. We also know it has the potential to decentralise knowledge and control. However, an increasingly dark side is emerging, an invisible revolution in how we consume information

Facebook, Google et al are engaged with monitoring our online activities to second-guess our consumer desires. Through the passing-on of information about us to companies, we are spied on, packaged up and sold down river to advertisers and marketing companies while we unknowingly click away. 

Eli Paliser lays bare the implications of this process, skilfully unpacking how personalised filters can upset the human brain’s cognitive balance between strengthening existing ideas and creating new ones; how they can hinder creativity and innovation through limiting the size of the mental space in which we problem-solve; how they aren’t tuned for diversity (even 45 minutes of exposure to a different culture can boost creativity); how they take us out of ‘discovery mode’ and obstruct serendipity’s flow (the element of random chance has proven to be necessary for evolutionary innovation).

The filter bubble is here, says Pariser, and it’s defining who we are. An important, significant, must-read book. 

The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser (Penguin) £12.99

©Sublime Magazine. All rights reserved.