This chapter introduced the often concerning effects of living in the Age of Algorithms, including algorithmic bias, the attention economy, and digital polarization. These overlapping and intersecting concepts will greatly shape the type of information we see online, and will influence our opinions, behaviors, decisions, and worldviews.
“Despite the emerging awareness of many of the terrible side effects of these platforms, we are dependent on them. They’ve become our local news channels, our emergency communication systems, our town squares, and the primary windows into the lives of our loved ones and governments. They are a critical part of how we rally around shared causes and engage with our politics. How do we reconcile their toxicity with their utility?” (Rose-Stockwell; emphasis added)
So what can we do? We are not suggesting that you completely abandon social media and other digital platforms like Google and YouTube. Instead, our aim is to increase awareness and understanding of the information environments that we inhabit on a daily basis, so that we can take advantage of the benefits they offer and use them more effectively.