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WebFilters

Page history last edited by ar.fisk@... 11 years, 8 months ago

Holospere: The problem usually wasn't getting access to information, it was to stave off being drowned in it. People bought personalised filter programs to skim a few droplets from that sea and keep the rest out. For some, subjective reality became the selected entertainments and special interest zines passed through by those tailored shells...

...Here, a man watches nothing but detective films... Next door, a woman reads and hears only opinions that match her own, because other points of view are culled by her loyal guardian software.

 


Status: Likely

It is a very old tradition of kings to surround themselves with advisors that basically agree with the royal line. (actually not quite as clear cut as that: King Canute bade the tide go back to show his court he was not omnipotent! Whether he created the fad for beach bathing in the process is moot)

Of course, this trait is not just exhibited by kings! We all have special interests and hobbies and, left to our own devices, will tend to concentrate on them. The issue being raised by this point is that, if we end up obtaining the bulk of our news and discussions through these filters, and if these merge into the background, then our ability to judge will be unconsciously skewed by them.

 

Reality

The tools exist to eg filter and sort your email, but most people do not make use of them. The bookmarks and RSS feeds you have set up in your browser are another form of filter. Whether these sufficiently all-encompassing to have an effect on your judgment is moot.

There are also some tools to try and avoid this tendency. In the sidebar to your right, you will see a link marked 'Random Page', which will take you to a page on this wiki at random. Similarly, both pbwiki and blogspot have controls which will send you to a wiki or blog at random.

Make use of them!

 

Google ads try to emulate this tendency by analysing search strings, site contents, and applying a bit of Bayesian Math to com up with relevant items. How effective it is you can judge from the top of the site's pages!

However, that last example points an even more sinister use of filters: those applied by third parties. Already, certain countries (eg China, Pakistan) are applying access blocks to certain sites of information that are considered 'unhelpful'

 

References

 

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