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Personalization of the Web:
Transcript of Personalization of the Web:
Although created with good intentions, personalization of the web has the ability to hinder human innovation, identity, and awareness. If steps are not taken to improve the algorithms that construct our digital lives, the personalized web can cause some serious issues.
In a Data Filled World...
Our personalities cannot be reduced to our "clicks"
Present and future selves
Some clicks are private
Facebook determines our "friends" and limits our news feed
Even if Facebook is right, what about the ideas outside my social circle?
Where is it headed and how does it affect us?
900,000 blog posts
50 million Tweets
Over 60 million Facebook updates
210 billion Emails sent
Amount of Human Communication
Beginning of Time
(5 Billion Gigabytes)
Every 2 Days
CEO of Amazon.com
Used algorithms to sort through relevant websites
PageRank program determined relevancy
Works like citations on academic papers
More citations = more credibility
User's "click signals"
Google records every click signal to improve accuracy
2009 Google implements Personalized Search for everyone
Founder of Facebook, Inc.
Man Hunt for Data
It's not just Google and Facebook.
Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, and many others now personalize
Acxiom has 1,500 pieces of data on ea. person in their database
including 96% of Americans (2004)
working in 10 countries
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
Founder of MIT Media Lab
Jaron Lanier's Response
Co-founder of VPL Research
Opposes the idea of "intelligent agents"
Agents aren't people
Online commerce is driven by advertising
The agents will have double loyalties
Started developing an idea of “intelligent agents” that track your interests and construct a “personalized summary”
Claimed that "Intelligent agents are the unequivocal future of computing”
Some innovations include: the modern personal computer and Ethernet
Tapestry collaborative filtering program
Began by tracking email habits
Not much interest in 1990's
One of the first to use the power of relevance to create revenue
Used filtering methods of PARC
More buying = more data = better suggestions
Served 1 million customers by 1997, and then hit 2 million six months later
Recorded first quarterly net profit in 2001
Amazon proved that relevance could lead to industry dominance
Larry Page & Sergey Brin
Co-founders of Google Inc.
Based on his book, "The Filter Bubble"
Eli Pariser's TED Talk
Google coaxes users, Facebook asks
Not the first social media website
Facebook's emphasis is on information
The News Feed algorithm in 2006
EdgeRank rated the importance of friends' posts
Based on: Affinity, Weight of Content, Time
2010 "Facebook Everywhere" -- Spreading FB personalization
Traffic increased by 250% for ABC News
Bottom line depends on targeted & relevant advertising
Motto: answer Q's
Strategy based on the relationship between pieces of info
Motto: help people connect
Strategy based on relationships between people
Google Vs. Facebook
Who ever has the most data, and puts it to the most use gets the advertising dollars
Filter Bubbles in Reality
As humans, it's natural for us to surround ourselves with like-minded people
With T.V. shows and magazines, it's understandable that we watch and read what we're interested in
But both of these choices are decisions WE make, not algorithms
Suggestions don't introduce us to new hobbies or activities we might enjoy
Innovation and creativity comes from combining seemingly opposite ideas
Non-stick cooking pan=physics & cooking
How this can be fixed
Add serendipity to filtering system
Use algorithms that prioritizes "falsifiability"
Label the filtering with "Stuff I like" and "Stuff others like, but I don't" so user has control
How can we fix this issue?
Co-founder & CEO of Meebo
Personalizing ads is different than personalizing news
What do you think of Pariser's concerns?
Are they valid?
Algorithm: a sequence of steps designed for programming a computer to solve a specific problem
Cookie: Cookies are small files which are stored on a user's computer. They are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer.
Surrounds us with the familiar
We aren't challenged; we're comfortable
Environments based on click signals will favor our existing notions about the world over content that challenges them
36% of Americans under 30 get their news from social networking sites
It's much easier to click "like" on a picture of a puppy, over an article on homelessness
However, social media can also encourage voting, and help raise awareness of worldly events
Create an "Important" button
Have algorithms account for civic responsibility
Combine algorithmic personalization with old school editorial leadership
What are your search results?
Internet Privacy: is there really such a thing?
Almost every website online today uses personalization with the help of cookies
President Kennedy Consumer Bill of Rights in 1960
Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights proposed in 2008
Big businesses will fight
Do Not Track list first proposed in 2007
Not signed into law officially
Many companies and browsers offer an "opt-out"
California's Right to Know Act
Are your cookies enabled?
Facebook and 123 Cookies
Browser settings offer a way out
Acxiom and BlueKai give opportunity for you to know what data they have
Acxiom asks for SSN digits
BlueKai is scary good
What do you think the government should do?
How do you feel about companies storing your data? What if they were selling it?
Views on privacy are constantly changing
Sep Kamvar, Amit Kapir, Babak Pahlavan, Seth Sternberg
Professor CEO Co-founder & CEO Co-founder & CEO
Stanford University Gravity The Clever Place Meebo
(acquired by Google in 2012)
(acquired by Google in 2012)
Don't immediately opt out
Be Cautious, not Afraid
Question asked: How do interest-graphs and social graphs affect personalization?
What are your thoughts about online privacy?
Behar, Richard. "Never Heard Of Acxiom? Chances Are It's Heard Of You." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 23 Feb. 2004. Web. 03 Nov. 2013. <http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/02/23/362182/>.
Lanier, Jaron. "Agents of Alienation." Agents of Alienation. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2013. <http://www.jaronlanier.com/agentalien.html>.
Meece, Mickey. "President Obama's Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/mickeymeece/2012/02/23/president-obamas-consumer-privacy-bill-of-rights/>.
Negroponte, Nicholas. "Wired 3.03: 000 000 111 - Double Agents." Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 01 Mar. 1995. Web. 02 Nov. 2013. <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.03/negroponte.html?pg=1>.
Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print.
Sonderman, Jeff. "One-third of Adults under 30 Get News on Social Networks Now | Poynter." Poynter. The Poynter Institute, 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/189776/one-third-of-adults-under-30-get-news-on-social-networks-now/>.
Spector, Robert. Amazon.com: Get Big Fast. New York: HarperBusiness, 2000. Print.
United States of America. The Administration. Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World a Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy. The White House, 23 Feb. 2008. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/privacy-final.pdf>.