thread for thinkpieces about TEH BIG BAD ALGORITHMS! ALGORITHMS! that don't seem to understand what an algorithm is

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because otherwise I will just quietly explode from pet peeves about once a week

we start with a doozy:


- the following definition of an algorithm, which will get you an A from any mathematics or computer science professor, try it: "Algorithms, as I’ll loosely define them, are sets of equations that work through machine learning to customize the delivery of content to individuals, prioritizing what they think we want, and evolving over time based on what we engage with."

- the obligatory citation, as "evidence," of the fictional cerulean scene from The Devil Wears Prada (which isn't even accurate, particularly, at least not today; Refinery29 had a good piece on this, but I guess they don't read their competitors?)

- the obligatory rewriting of the past to fit one's thesis: "Instead of the maximalist, celebrity-driven, intoxicant culture of ‘70s television — Nixon, Star Wars, shag rugs, cocaine, nuclear bombs — we now have the flattened, participatory, somehow salutary aesthetic of avocado toast, Outdoor Voices leggings, reclaimed wood, Sky Ting yoga classes, and succulents in ceramic planters." yep folks, cocaine is over. there is no more Star Wars. the nuclear doomsday clock went haywire in the '70s and at no point before or after. meanwhile, avocado anything was totally unheard of in the '70s.

- the standard deployment of ludditism: "Think of the difference between a friend recommending a clothing brand and something showing up in targeted banner ads, chasing you around the internet. It’s more likely that your friend understands what you want and need, and you’re more likely to trust the recommendation, even if it seems challenging to you." this is strange, because as I remember it my friends mostly recommended me Abercrombie and Fitch because everybody was wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, and eventually they recommended American Eagle and Hollister because those were also stores in the mall that popped up.

- seriously there is always SO MUCH ludditism: "My friend is sitting across from me in a wine bar. She’s wearing a black turtleneck cashmere sweater with long ridges down the sleeves. ... I got it from my grandma’s closet when she moved out of Manhattan, she says." how perfectly non-algorithmic! except turtlenecks were a major thing in runway fashion in the past couple of years (I should know, I wore turtlenecks constantly before then was surprised to see them actually fashionable), which might have something to do with why she chose that sweater from her grandma and not the fish muumuu or the '80s cocktail dress with the Mondrian print or the little waterfall white lace thing dripping from the neck; meanwhile. your lede literally just said that black is The Algorithmic Color of Choice, so....

- the sweeping tour de dilettantism through other fields, prompted by the sentence "Other ways in which our experiences are warped by algorithmic platforms include..." and including a summary line of every thinkpiece that one consumed in the past year. (thinkpieces one likely stumbled across via... well, that's too easy.)

- Walter Benjamin

- the moment at which I died:

"Addendum I: Algorithmic Intimacy

One day, a friend of mine in New York City is on OKCupid, Bumble, or Hinge. He encounters the profile of a young woman and matches with her. He introduces himself with a joke based on the cultural signifiers in her profile, as is the habit of our time. She doesn’t respond.

Months later, I am sitting with him in a restaurant at the only two open seats left at the bar. At the end of our corner, there is a young woman sitting alone. My friend and the young woman strike up a conversation that seems to have a certain spark to it. Eventually, the realization occurs to her, or maybe she’d known all along: “Did we… match online?” She apologizes for not replying to his message and they keep chatting with increasing animation.

Would this flash of intimacy have occurred without the intervention of the algorithm that introduced them? Not so quickly, I think, if at all. The algorithm added a certain missing context through which they identified each other; it can be comforting, even helpful to feel recognized by the machine. He gets her phone number."

(the reason I died is because there IS an algorithm on those apps, its purpose is to rank people by attractiveness and match them with people of similar attractiveness, and that sure isn't "comforting" at all. also, it obviously isn't Bumble because the point of Bumble is that men don't message first, but what the fuck is fact checking?)

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:15 (one year ago) link

oh I also forgot the other common feature of such pieces: ass-covering acknowledgement that the thesis might be bunk, that nevertheless isn't enough to stop one from writing thousands of words: "Our experiences have always been algorithmic, if not previously driven by an actual algorithm. Sometimes it seems wrong to speak of some kind of lost originality or authenticity, as if life before Facebook were wholly innocent, non-formulaic, pure — tasteful."

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:21 (one year ago) link

LOL at "sometimes it seems wrong." I just love your ass covering, where did you get it?

mick signals, Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:33 (one year ago) link

from an algorithm :(

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:35 (one year ago) link

that article was a lot of words to say "did you know there's really no such thing as 'chance'?"

if the number of variables coming to any particular conclusion are vast then yeah, that's chance. unless you're going to be some nerd who goes off on the simulation hypothesis and how we could theoretically model the entire world, it's a useless point

the dating anecdote is especially bizarre because, in absence of what kind of site they saw each other on, it might have been as dumb as geographic proximity. that's not an algorithm, it's a facade you sit behind while making an approach

alvin noto (mh), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:58 (one year ago) link

met someone in a college class and then went on a date? college applications -- part of an algorithm!

alvin noto (mh), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:00 (one year ago) link

and that phone number's name was... albert einstein

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:18 (one year ago) link

anyway this is not a thread to dunk on this specific piece -- as I said, they come around weekly, if not daily. this one is just noteworthy for the sheer amount of things it gets wrong at both the macro and micro levels. like: "It’s possible to consciously resist the algorithm, like someone might buck the current fashion trend — wearing bell-bottoms." oh, you mean like this trend? the one that corresponds to all the bell sleeves?

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:23 (one year ago) link

(the sentence is cut off, it continues "wearing bell bottoms and tie-dye rather than minimalist basics" or something along those lines)

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:23 (one year ago) link

that seems like an especially dumb one because a fair number of fashion choices when it comes to cut are cyclical, especially bell bottom/boot cut/etc? you can practically set your clock to trends in men's suits, they literally just rotate on a near-fixed schedule with variations depending on what else is currently on trend

an algorithm making actual novel choices would be, say, anticipating that a new fabric that lays differently and is becoming popular will cause a resurgence in a style or color that's very off-cycle because it looks bad in the current cut

alvin noto (mh), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:27 (one year ago) link

I mean, at this point I'd settle for an algorithm that recommends me clothes of my measurements -- it's just reading and matching simple numerical data, i.e. a thing a computer can do way faster than me opening tabs on poshmark

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:29 (one year ago) link

million dollar idea right there

matching up the rise on a pair of pants with what your wearing waist actually is at that point would be amazing

instead it's guesswork of determining if these are low-rise pants that sit below the widest part or actually more standard-rise pants with weird marketing that are going to be too tight because they're two inches taller

alvin noto (mh), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 16:33 (one year ago) link

a browser extension that replaces every instance of "algorithms" with "the long division algorithm"

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 18:00 (one year ago) link

Our experiences have always been algorithmic, if not previously driven by an actual algorithm.

Our 'experiences' are a meeting of the external physical reality and our internal mental picture of that reality, and whereas physical reality does conform to general physical laws, it sure as shit isn't driven by algorithms. So then, was the author thinking solely of our mental reconstruction of reality into ideas about reality? If so, I'd say our brains are not algorithmically-driven either; they're all about heuristics.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 18:10 (one year ago) link

Algorithms are like obscenity: impossible to define but you know them when you see them. They're whatever we want them to be, really.

Dethloaf LLC (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 18:19 (one year ago) link

As someone with a CS degree, it bugs me that pop culture has confused "algorithm" with "heuristic".

An algorithm is a computational process guaranteed to deliver a global optimum, for example the fastest path for a travelling salesman. Because in many cases the computation scales exponentially with the size of the problem (eg, the number of cities our salesman visits), there's a huge amount of work on heuristics, that can approximate the benefits of algorithms without the chugging for days/lifetimes.

The computational processes that deliver user and context sensitive advertising are heuristics. There's of course no global optimum for ad delivery.

Algorhithms can be for good or bad. I became disenchanted with the whole field when the focus of my grad program PI became heuristics to put medical doctors out of work. That program looking at your mammogram, that program working for the insurance company, can indeed make better diagnoses than expert doctors. But this all comes at a huge cost in human connection.

Zhoug speaks to you, his chosen ones (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 21:09 (one year ago) link

not disagreeing with you re: valuing results over people, but man, out of everybody in healthcare, defending _doctors_ for their "people skills"... it's a strange world we live in!

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Tuesday, 17 April 2018 21:21 (one year ago) link

actual lol (no offense to any doctors other than the ones I know)

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 14:22 (one year ago) link

reminds me of having a routine checkup to make sure everything else was fine after a specialist scheduled me for surgery, and the primary care dude was basically, "wow, surgery for what? that sucks man, sounds bad"

alvin noto (mh), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 14:36 (one year ago) link

OT aside: those in the know don't do routine checkups. If you have symptoms, by all means seek care, but fishing for diagnoses is fishing for overtreatment. One of the central falsehoods of the U.S. healthcare debate is that more healthcare is better healthcare.

Zhoug speaks to you, his chosen ones (Sanpaku), Thursday, 19 April 2018 22:08 (one year ago) link

recently at work i was trying to explain to someone how a certain system availability metric has been defined and she was like “ok can you send me the algorithm?”

it was all i could do to not respond “it’s.....not an algorithm. it’s a spreadsheet full of formulas. a woman named sharon populates it once a month.”

call all destroyer, Thursday, 19 April 2018 22:39 (one year ago) link

I’d still probably call that an implementation of some algorithm.

valorous wokelord (silby), Thursday, 19 April 2018 22:40 (one year ago) link

maybe sharon just types whatever comes to mind. the sharon algorithm.

mh, Thursday, 19 April 2018 22:41 (one year ago) link

in theaters July 10

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 19 April 2018 22:47 (one year ago) link

<record scratch>

Google lobster hierarchies (Bananaman Begins), Friday, 20 April 2018 15:27 (one year ago) link

an algorithm is just a really specific recipe what is all this mysticism nonsense

brimstead, Friday, 20 April 2018 15:33 (one year ago) link

i use an algorithm to put my pants on

brimstead, Friday, 20 April 2018 15:33 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

today is a banner day for terrible takes about algorithms but this older one is the one that is the most ridiculous

Is human thinking beginning to mimic algorithmic processes?

yeah, fucking ban to-do lists

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 5 June 2018 19:56 (one year ago) link

also featuring references to Karl Marx and Baudrillard:

Algorithms create a sort of Baudrillardian simulation, where each rating has completely replaced the reality it refers to

ironically, the current use of the word "algorithm" is itself a Baudrillardian simulacra, in that it is completely detached from reality

(I know that's not quite what it really means)

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 5 June 2018 20:41 (one year ago) link

also *ym

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 5 June 2018 20:41 (one year ago) link

*um, christ

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 5 June 2018 20:42 (one year ago) link

for the "oh! i always get those two mixed up" file: jean baudrillard, charles baudelaire

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 03:06 (one year ago) link

maybe an algorithm would help you remember

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 03:56 (one year ago) link

Let’s talk about algorithms.

Let’s talk about time and space.

Let’s talk about O(n^{2}) and O(n log(n)).

Allen (etaeoe), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:08 (one year ago) link

The Most Important Algorithms

After a long discussion with some of my RISC colleagues about what the 5 most important algorithms on the world are, we couldn't reach a consensus on this question. So I suggested to perform a little survey. The criterion for suggestions was that these algorithms should be widely used. Further we restrict ourselves to the fields of computer science and mathematics.

A* search algorithm
Beam Search
Binary search
Branch and bound
Buchberger's algorithm
Data compression
Diffie-Hellman key exchange
Dijkstra's algorithm
Discrete differentiation
Dynamic programming
Euclidean algorithm
Expectation-maximization algorithm (EM-Training)
Fast Fourier transform (FFT)
Gradient descent
Heaps (heap sort)
Karatsuba multiplication
LLL algorithm
Maximum flow
Merge sort
Newton's method
Quadratic sieve
Schönhage-Strassen algorithm
Simplex algorithm
Singular value decomposition (SVD)
Solving a system of linear equations
Viterbi algorithm

Allen (etaeoe), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:10 (one year ago) link


This is a pretty good list and also reflects contemporary use!

I’d only remove strukturtensor and RANSAC. I don’t think there’s any that I’d add.

Allen (etaeoe), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:13 (one year ago) link

my first job out of college dijkstra's algorithm came up in the interview and I knew how it worked and I got the job so I think algorithms are good

ciderpress, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:18 (one year ago) link

if I had a dollar for every time someone wrote about how algorithms are evil, I'd have a huge list of dollars, but I could never sort it

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:24 (one year ago) link

RSA shortly to be toast thanks quantum computing

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:30 (one year ago) link

top 5 there I think are:
merge sort

my wildcard most important algorithm is the Knuth-Plass line-breaking algorithm

valorous wokelord (silby), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:30 (one year ago) link

this is beyond my current level of knowledge but I approve of it

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:33 (one year ago) link

(I mean, not *all* of it is, but)

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:34 (one year ago) link

I mean I've never had to know precisely what a fourier transform is in my life but I know it's important for signal processing!

valorous wokelord (silby), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:35 (one year ago) link

merge sort is cool as hell

Quick sort is mental

brimstead, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 16:11 (one year ago) link

One of the authors of that Techcrunch idiocy is a compsci phd apparently?

mick signals, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 16:43 (one year ago) link

mick signals, Wednesday, 6 June 2018 16:44 (one year ago) link

quicksort is beautiful: quicksort(x < p) ++ p ++ quicksort(x >= p)

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 17:16 (one year ago) link

I like thread. And I really enjoy dunking on people writing about the coming gray goo or whatever. Excuse my rambling.

My analysis professor once described learning calculus, like reading Shakespeare or reading a foreign language, as something that makes everyone smarter and see the world in an entirely different way. I always loved that.

I think quicksort could be added to that list of subjects. Everything from the implementation to its analysis and even its peculiar history is complex and fascinating. I actually think a few of these would fit that too. Simplex, Dijkstra’s, or gradient descent would apply too.

If I would’ve posted this five years ago, everyone (myself included) would’ve said gradient descent should probably be removed, right? It’s incredible when ideas can be rediscovered or applied in different ways to transform entire fields. I pay my bills because of gradient descent! If it didn’t come back my research would look completely different.

I really don’t know anything about the two encryption algorithms Diffie-Hellman and RSA outside of the pop science descriptions.

I’m a little surprised by the lack of compiler-related algorithms like LALR or ideas like Chomsky hierarchy of formal grammars or even Church calculi. I first heard about the Kahan algorithm for SVD when I went to a Q&A with Chomsky and someone asked him to share a math trick he liked.

Allen (etaeoe), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 19:01 (one year ago) link

Silby, of the algorithms on the list I’ve implemented, FFT is the trickiest but possibly the most rewarding. It’s usefulness also extends outside of signal processing. I believe NLP, for example, now uses conceptually similar transformations for translation problems.

You should try it! (I bet the key exchange or RSA are trickier but, like I said, I don’t know much about them. Maybe I should try and learn something.)

Allen (etaeoe), Wednesday, 6 June 2018 19:05 (one year ago) link

that one's not so bad beyond the headline

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Thursday, 7 June 2018 13:49 (one year ago) link

this maybe isn't the thread for it but someone I follow on Twitter pointed out Angela Merkel being on the same Coachella tier with an android

What are the implications of AI? How can society interact responsibly with machines? And will our current political strategies help shape the future of intelligent systems? Do not miss out on #moralsandmachines in Berlin on June 27 & 28. Tickets -> #wiwo

— Léa Steinacker (@leasteinacker) June 7, 2018

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Thursday, 7 June 2018 17:50 (one year ago) link

Eye in the Sky: Real-time Drone Surveillance System (DSS) for Violent Individuals Identification using ScatterNet Hybrid Deep Learning Network


Allen (etaeoe), Thursday, 7 June 2018 20:06 (one year ago) link

I'm starting to think any paper submitted should require an ethicist be one of the credited contributors before it's allowed to be published

mh, Thursday, 7 June 2018 20:07 (one year ago) link

see that doesn't belong in the thread either because it sounds like it actually is a bad algorithm

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Thursday, 7 June 2018 20:15 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

I haven't read any of Harari's books, but I feel like the buzz around him is mostly positive so I was surprised to read stuff like this:

Imagine Anna Karenina taking out her smartphone and asking Siri whether she should stay married to Karenin or elope with the dashing Count Vronsky. Or imagine your favorite Shakespeare play with all the crucial decisions made by a Google algorithm. Hamlet and Macbeth would have much more comfortable lives, but what kind of lives would those be?

tbf this is nowhere near as dumb as the OP and he raises plenty of valid concerns, but I'm not sure techno-dystopianism is going to help us anymore than its opposite ever did

rob, Monday, 3 September 2018 19:37 (one year ago) link

The insatiable demand for content and for novelty leads to every kind of inanity getting disseminated. The bar for punditry is set exceptionally low.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 3 September 2018 20:16 (one year ago) link

harari's 2014 book is compelling, his 2016 one a bit more of a slog

came here to post this

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 3 September 2018 20:47 (one year ago) link

the whole paragraph is a clusterfuck really

Democratic elections and free markets might cease to make sense.

algorithmic trading has existed for over three decades now

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 4 September 2018 07:39 (one year ago) link

(and actually has caused very real and very big problems with the economy, but that isn't as exciting as robots stealing our free will)

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 4 September 2018 07:47 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

only tangentially related to algorithm panic but the best thread on this subject you'll ever erad

(nsfw, probably, conceptually nsfw at least)

Ugh. I will be receiving this article for the foreseeable future, and while I love yelling at people for sending me dumb shit, I have things to do. In an effort to save time, I present



— Kyle Machulis (@qDot) October 26, 2018

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Friday, 26 October 2018 18:08 (one year ago) link


aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Friday, 26 October 2018 18:21 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

the links in this thread are like a greatest hits of shitty articles written about THE BIG BAD ALGORITHMS: that awful Racked piece, that terrible "pop music all sounds the same now!!!!!1!1!!!one" study, etc.

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 21:39 (eleven months ago) link

Perhaps with an undertone of personal resentment, phrases like “algorithmic culture” and the “algorithm economy” have cropped up among critics to illustrate the way aesthetic and commercial motivations shift in this world of passive, automated discovery.

TRANSLATION: no one knows what the fuck an algorithm is, and people use "algorithms" as a scary technological bucket to hold their old anxieties about art vs. commerce, authenticity, rockism, and perhaps aging out of technology's target demographic, and I have no idea how people who program things for a living and also listen to music don't want to disintegrate on the regular

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 21:49 (eleven months ago) link

“By ‘algorithm culture,’ I meant the notion of art as something reduced to an integer and formula—a constant infinity loop of ‘recommended if you like…’ playlists,” Weiss says.

not to pick on him, I generally like his music writing, but this is kind of hilarious since an infinite loop is, by definition, not an algorithm, which is finite

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 22:01 (eleven months ago) link

lol and otm. Weiss might have been gesturing at some kind of cybernetic feedback loop system? Idk I think the discourse/hype around machine learning has made these discussions even worse.

I did think this bit was interesting:

Spotify employs natural-language processing (NLP) models in its recommendation algorithms, analyzing text from blogs, news articles, forums, and other sources to draw connections among different artists and songs, and to figure out what adjectives and moods people associate with these artists online.

Reminds me of people wondering why Conde Nast wanted to buy Reddit. Also that one poster who would freak out about Spotify all the time...maybe he knew

rob, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 22:59 (eleven months ago) link

I wonder if they don't actually do that and just say they do b/c it sounds good

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:07 (eleven months ago) link

a constant infinity loop of ‘recommended if you like…’ playlists,”

If you like Bing Crosby Sings White Christmas you might like Bing Crosby Sings White Christmas... ???

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:08 (eleven months ago) link

re: the NLP stuff -- I would be skeptical of how useful it is, at least right now. my friend Emily (who actually does know what she is talking about) just posted about some of what's out there, which is... not fantastic:

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:11 (eleven months ago) link

(hey that's a cool person to be friends with)

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:13 (eleven months ago) link

yeah I wonder if silby isn't right about "NLP". OTOH textual sentiment analysis would be easy enough to run on those sources, though it's pretty dumb imo

rob, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:15 (eleven months ago) link

oh sorry I see now your friend mentions SA

rob, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:18 (eleven months ago) link

xp -- mostly through games stuff

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:56 (eleven months ago) link

three weeks pass...

I expected exhausting Bandersnatch takes but I did not expect this Jack Thompson twist:

But what if instead of logging how many times you watched Love Actually this holiday season, it’s remembering whether you opted to kill your father in cold blood, or save him? What could Netflix do with that highly sensitive emotional information? ... The third concern is the most Black Mirror of them all. It’s not inconceivable to imagine that if the government got a hold of your data, it could think you’re someone worthy of future surveillance. Studies from the Oxford Internet Institute show that there is little evidence to say that playing violent video games lead to violent real-life behavior. However, there are still politicians that peddle this narrative. Could Netflix data be used to identify future terrorists or restrict your access to airports?

excuse me sir, we have here a file from a quote unquote "video game" called The Sims detailing how you trapped your quote unquote "Sims" in a house and set it on fire. sorry, but you have to leave the country now.

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 21:46 (eleven months ago) link

something that is actually correct:

this in particular should be carved into a goddamn mountain:

In the same way that the breathtaking scope of contemporary surveillance and data-extraction processes makes conspiracy theories about astroturfed memes and bugged smartphones seem almost pathetic in comparison, it also reveals how little our own choices are able to control the flow of our data, and how little our knowledge really matters. I might be aware that photos of myself in 2009 could be misused, and choose not to participate in that meme. But simply by living a fairly regular life on and offline — by clicking on links and writing posts; by opening Instagram and scrolling through it, hovering over some photos and flicking past others; by using credit cards at chain stores; by letting photographs of myself be taken and uploaded to the internet — I’m generating data that’s probably more valuable to the companies involved than those photographs would be. There’s something tragic about the fact that the purely recreational activity of participating in a meme is the subject of conspiratorial paranoia, while the multitude of chore-like activities we do daily, from which data is also being extracted for hoarding or sale, go mostly ignored.

theorizing your yells (katherine), Wednesday, 16 January 2019 18:52 (ten months ago) link

"Can we continue to use your data to tailor ads for you?" Popup irony...

koogs, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 19:11 (ten months ago) link

i got stuck at a particular sentence in a blog post recently until i realized that they wrote 'logarithm' in place of 'algorithm'

dyl, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 05:50 (ten months ago) link

I expected this bump to be about the aoc thing (which I still need to get through like four levels of Discourse telephone to figure out who's misrepresenting whom and by how much)

theorizing your yells (katherine), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 16:07 (ten months ago) link

i'm not following things too closely but steve bellovin seems cogent

The Elvis of Nationalism and Amoral Patriotism (rushomancy), Friday, 25 January 2019 02:37 (ten months ago) link

yeah, once I actually read her comments rather than the crust of Discourse coating them, they were far more reasonable than anything in this thread

theorizing your yells (katherine), Friday, 25 January 2019 18:37 (ten months ago) link

two months pass...

(I realize picking on something by a "Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, prolific writer" is cheating, but it was in my inbox)

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Friday, 5 April 2019 14:01 (eight months ago) link

IBM must be grateful there's an I in Mafia

ha, I was going to ask, is this actually getting traction? The introduction is disqualifying on its own

rob, Friday, 5 April 2019 14:03 (eight months ago) link

the algorithm currently on my shit list is the one medium used to determine, correctly, that I would click this and email me about it

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Friday, 5 April 2019 14:06 (eight months ago) link

three weeks pass...

I don't even know

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Monday, 29 April 2019 04:51 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

look out for the algorithims is something

i'm very fascinated by the placement of objects in that room, specifically the large potted plant which almost looks photoshopped in

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 12 August 2019 14:38 (three months ago) link

seriously! like, why is dude putting his tripod on top of the kick drum head? Looks like it could lead to it ripping? ... otoh, he could have just put the tripod on the floor, if it weren't for the immense potted plant that seems to be there for no good reason? The potted plant is really jarring the more I think about it.

sarahell, Monday, 12 August 2019 15:00 (three months ago) link

also the plant looks a *slight bit* tilted? from left to right? like it seems to tilt more than the bass drum
it's a very claustrophobic mise en scene

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 12 August 2019 15:07 (three months ago) link

yeah ... the plant is really troubling ... maybe it was photoshopped in, but in place of some other object? also the tree branch that seems to be tapping at the window at various times? though we can't hear it in the recording, even though it is ostensibly being recorded through the zoom recorder on the tripod, which would presumably pick up some of that sound? though, maybe not?

sarahell, Monday, 12 August 2019 15:11 (three months ago) link

and what are the drums resting on? it looks like it's some white pedestal or ... like they are just sitting in mid-air? is it just me, or does it kinda look like the snare/tom stack is just floating there?

sarahell, Monday, 12 August 2019 15:17 (three months ago) link

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