Editors or Algorithms

Automatization and computerization are reshaping employment globally. This is an ongoing process that for a lot of people whose job is at risk seems hard to anticipate and adapt to. For example, recent developments in technology have already given us algorithmic fashion designers. According to Boyd & Caplan algorithms actively categorize and filter content. Algorithms process user input and adapt output to specific contexts. We could argue that algorithms are now starting to take on the role of editors in online media.

If we follow this line of argument a daunting question comes to mind: how can editors specifically and journalists in general remain relevant when algorithms could be able to take over their jobs? Can we imagine a world in which the media is merely controlled by algorithms and user-input (and obviously by the few who design the algorithms)? The intuitive answer seems to be no. On the other hand, it looks like it is happening already. Food for thought (or bits for your processor, depending on whether you’re an algorithm).

Boyd, Danah, and Caplan, Roy. “Who Controls the Public Sphere in an Era of Algorithms?” Data & Society, 13 May 2016, pp. 1-19.

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