Quest to gather ever more info can make us value wrong things & grow overconfident about what we know | MIT Tech Review


Algorithms track website clicks and advise journalists on what kinds of stories to write. Evgeny Morozov sees many ways this could go terribly wrong. For one thing, maximal efficiency is not necessarily a value to strive for; inefficiency often produces social benefits. Not knowing exactly how much readership each story got probably led newspapers to extensive coverage of state government.

Morozov worries that we are too often making this trade-off — opting to publish more information to increase transparency even if it undermines principles such as privacy or civic involvement. In his trenchant new book, To Save Everything Click Here, the writer for Slate and The New Republic claims that “Internet-centrism” is warping our view of what’s truly important.

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