Monday, 3 April 2017

Personalisation and personal 'bubbles' of information

We all see that newspapers are personalising stories so that each reader gets exactly 'what they want'. We see personalisation in media, where Netflix has 79,000 micro-genres which enable it to give a more personalised service to subscribers than rival services.

Back in the 1990s when the internet went mainstream, commentators remarked that personalisation would result in each person living in their own 'bubble'. The recent US election has been a case in point, where each side does not even bother to check facts or read what the other side really thinks. The Post Fact 'word' became added to the famous OED and causes consternation to the literati who bemoan the loss of truth.

One can feel the rise of electronic information which makes all news available worldwide with immediate effect. A small example, there was a bomb in St Petersburg a few hours ago, my phone went bleep with a new item from the NY Times, I mentioned to a colleague at the next desk, 'Oh my, a bomb in St Petersberg this afternoon.' She looks askance at me because she knew that a few hours earlier, which made it old news.

So here is a nice observation as news, licensing and syndication of information is moving at the speed of light (well, electronics).

We see articles that AI is on the rise, and will be the coming format for entertainment. So what about this?


Ben Fletcher, senior software engineer at IBM Watson Research who worked on a project to build an AI fact checker
We got a lot of feedback that people did not want to be told what was true or not. At the heart of what they want, was actually the ability to see all sides and make the decision for themselves. A major issue most people face, without knowing it, is the bubble they live in. If they were shown views outside that bubble they would be much more open to talking about them.


The great story here is that people want to make up their minds. We have electronic information, and each individual knows how they go about working out what is correct. They see all sides they wish and make up their own minds.


And the nicest part is this: 
"If they were shown views outside that bubble they would be much more open to talking about them."

Let's hope that holds true. Personalisation creates bubbles, yes, but people also wish to be challenged, and read opinions outside their bubble.

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