Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Tyranny Of Algorithms

They live with us, even though we don’t see them. They are there, every minute, without us repairing them. Wherever the eye can see. They have more influence on us than our mother.

Which is saying. The economy of algorithms has permeated in recent years a business culture that seeks to constantly monitor the steps of Internet users. Subjected under an iron fist in the form of complex mathematical sequences and operations. They are behind the digital services that we consult on a daily basis, but they are increasingly being extended to all businesses.

They are among us. There are algorithms to predict the weather, traffic jams and even love. There are those who compose music and paint pictures as if it were Van Gogh . Others, on the other hand, are behind the creation of fake news and are able to predict who will win in an election.

As citizens cede power to machines, the more concerned is what is beyond their control. Are algorithms useful? Should they be auditable? They are sometimes thought of as the Coca-Cola formula:secret, opaque, lucrative. In reality, they are still instructions that serve the machines their power of decision.

They feed on data given by users, adjusting and personalizing user experiences. Yes, they have a lot of potential for decision making. An entrepreneur of the future will have (if he does not already have it) a machine at his disposal that will offer him the most optimal results when faced with a problem.

No, no, machines will not rise up against humans, but there is, in a way, a tyranny of algorithms in today’s societies as they are present around us. That also wants to put a stop to regulatory bodies and authorities. The goal of today’s visionaries is to equip it with ethics so that it does not disengage from social justice for decades to come.

That is, reducing gaps rather than opening them further. «An algorithm is an information system. Information generates knowledge that, by definition, is positive for us: you know more about things.

Another thing is how you use it. The technology is not good or bad, it depends on its use, ”says Xavier Ferràs, professor in the Department of Operations, Innovation and Data Sciences at Esade in a telephone conversation with ABC .

Those famous algorithms are the instruction book of the great digital services that have conquered society in recent times. Netflix, the multimedia content “streaming” platform, knows perfectly at all times the programs that best suit a given consumer .

And the implemented software itself encourages, precisely, to take out that television thirst. He changes captures of his series when one has given the lug. ” Lady’s Gambit, ” for example, stars the stunning actress Anya Taylor-Joy .

Now, one of his (minor) appearances has been reinforced with his image to capture interest: “Peaky Blinders.” Its algorithm is capable of recommending some series and not others.

The same happens on other platforms like Spotify. The most earthly example is Facebook: what you see is the product of your imagination. Edgerank, as it is called, decides the content that appears on your profile.

Any modification, no matter how small, has an impact. If not that they tell the media, they have suffered a notable loss of traffic due to the decision to give more visibility to the publications of friends. “Many of the things that happen to us do not escape the control of algorithms.

And, no matter how much they come to us from intelligent machines, there are always incredible things, “says Marta García Aller , author of” The Unpredictable: Everything that technology wants and cannot control by video call.»(Planet, 2020).

Advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence are reaping great achievements for the economy and, by extension, humanity. There are countless examples of how companies and businesses apply it on a daily basis to improve their industrial processes.

And they achieve harmony with efficiency. An AI, without going any further, is helping African farmers in Zambia get instant information on plant diseases and weather patterns, previously only sourced from agricultural experts and meteorologists.

There are also systems that indicate the fastest route to a certain point. Thanks to these computer resources, new exoplanets have been discovered. There is an endless stream of examples of the opportunities this emerging technology has provided. “There is a new generation of information systems that are capable of learning about themselves, which is a matter inherent to the human being,” says Ferràs.

In this sense, experts consider that machines should be seen more as companions than as natural substitutes. It will always take intuition and creativity, something inherent in the human condition. The machines, from what they can provide us, is information.

That otherwise would be impossible to profess, but “artificial intelligences” can. Whoever decides what is fair or good or bad has to be a human. “That algorithms turn society into a more just, democratic or authoritarian society does not have to portray algorithms as a dictatorship.

We need electricity, but we do not say that it is a dictatorship», Adds García Aller. Ferràs wonders, in that sense, if technology creates or destroys jobs. His argument: “It depends on whether you do it or you consume it. If you are a mere consumer, you may be a passive element of the economy.

AI is going to permeate all aspects of everyday life. We do not realize how necessary it is. García Aller makes it clear: «He is going to transform human relationships, love, work; Little by little it is transforming everything, but what we have to ask is that the companies that design them, which are corporations, be more transparent in their calculations.

Because they are not neutral, they have an end And we know that machines lack ambition. What these algorithms are looking for is what a human has wanted. For Ferràs, this technology has impressive applications in all areas. Now machines can recognize voices, faces, images. They can understand the patterns of word meaning, strategic movements in a game,

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