The Web of Choice

Who would have thought the maxim, there is no spoon, could also conjure up the illusion of choice? Gladden Pappin says, “The filters which prevent web searches from going astray give you no hint about what course of action is virtue and what is vice.” Dirty algorithms.

This subtle indictment of algorithmic bias invokes Upton Sinclair’s critique of the contradictions of journalism, with a newsroom of “subordinates drifting inevitably toward the point of view held by their masters.”

Varied views are fine for Pappin, when taken in moderation. Because “when freedom equals unlimited choice, and when technology abolishes limits and with them purpose, everyone winds up having to make or discover the rules himself.” Tell me, what’s so wrong with that?

TBT, Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2011

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