[HSP #97] Algorithmic Traps & Changing Your Mind

Hi gang! Welcome to the new(ish) newsletter!

Happy Shiny People!

I’ve moved this newsletter. There’s been a bunch of noise about tinyletter’s parent company (the former host) killing newsletter hosting, so I’ve moved on in anticipation of that. This is now run out of SubStack (over here: https://nothingfuture.substack.com/) and this is the first email to go out via that new system. It seems… fine? I dunno. This isn’t a very large list, and I’m not very demanding of these systems, so my needs are few. Regardless, if this angers you, you can easily unsub at the bottom (just like you’ve always been able to). But please do give it a chance- you should notice no change whatsoever, really. And my content will be as good as it’s ever been!


Avoiding the Algorithmic Trap (via Kottke)


This is a lovely article about how the age of social media has led to a number of “algorithmic traps” that lead us to believe that there are certain things we “need” to see and locations we “need” to visit- as it there’s so official list of experiences we’re supposed to have when we travel. Much of this, the article alleges, is due to the algorithms of social media (I’m looking at you, instagram…). We see the same images and the same settings promoted, and so we naturally want to fall in line with those expectations. The author further supposes that really what we should be trying to do is make connections with humans in those places- the locals- and to be open to the experiences they might suggest. I’d argue much of this would apply to educations- we’re increasingly being data-drive, algorithmically supported, “AI” enhanced in our efforts, and I’d say much of that misses the point. We’re not teaching computers- we’re teaching people. And making connections to those people will always be more meaningful and fruitful than whatever algorithmically-guided-data-driven-AI-enhanced garbage the edtech establishment sees fit to push on us.

You can change your mind.


There’s been a lot of chatter on twitter about tweet histories- some people think they should be a record of all the things we write; others believe tweets are of a time and place and should be impermanent. Some folks have started using filters to delete all their old tweets, and now delete anything older than 30 days- others keep entire histories. And with that has some the question of holding ourselves accountable for opinions we once had- things we’ve said that we no longer believe. @xeni was voicing concerns about this- and I offered here @austinkleon’s tweet- that we are allowed to change our minds. It’s ok- and students should know that, too. The graphic Austin made might do well to hang in classrooms.

Sorry there are only two cool things this week- but school is starting (or just started, depending), and I didn’t want to overload. Feel free to send me neat stuff and forward this thing to friends. And I’ll see you next week.