Tag Archives: how algorithm work

Algorithms are LifeBlood of Modern World– Age of Algorithmization, Rise of Algocracy: Yet You Know Nothing About Them…

Algorithms dominate the world… they are life blood of modern society… they are building blocks of business, government… they are the recipes for modern living. At its simplest level an algorithm is series of logical step-by-step instructions that give fast, accurate answers to a range of complex problems… All internet search engines, including Google, sift through thousands, if not millions of web-pages, to access content that you seek in an instant… and it’s all done with algorithms– simple set of mathematical rules embedded in software… Facebook, Tweeter, LinkedIn… in fact all on-line platforms and all apps use some form of algorithm… Every time you access automated teller machine (ATM), or book an air, or train ticket, or buy something online, you are using an algorithm…

The use of algorithms in daily transactions is unprecedented. Every time you use a computer– laptop, smart phone, mileage calculator in a car– you are using algorithms… Credit cards, identity cards, health cards… use algorithms to store, retrieve personal data… However, experts worry that there is too little transparency, too much control in hands of organizations that develop algorithms… Even though most of them are created with good intentions some may have unintended consequences… According to Danielle Citron; most people don’t think much about algorithms and their trustworthiness, transparency… but in reality the people who craft them may be less than honorable and embed within them all sorts of biases, sinister things… 

In the article World Run by Algorithms by Banning Garrett writes: The world runs by algorithms and the dependency will only increase in the future, especially as the planet becomes wired-up with tens of billions of sensors in the Internet of Things… Algorithms are key to systems that supply basic needs, they are the foundation of civilization. They are critical to energy systems, food production and distribution systems, water supplies, communications, virtually all governmental, health, educational, financial systems… Algorithms are critical to the functioning of national defense– from the systems that provide intelligence and reconnaissance to those that enable weapons…

The list of algorithms is virtually inexhaustible. We don’t ‘see’ them but without them the modern world would grind to a halt… They are essential for the modern world to function… However, algorithms are not regulated, there are no standards, no controls, no oversight… they are developed, implemented, managed, maintained… solely by their developers… According to Christopher Steiner; left unsupervised, algorithms can and will do strange things. As we put more and more of the world under the control of algorithms, we can lose track of who-or what-is pulling the strings…

In the article Importance of Algorithms by John Danaher writes: The term ‘algorithm’ can mystify people. Whether talk about decisions made by algorithms that personally affects people, or whether its talk about the ‘rise of algocracy’… there is danger of some people becoming overly alarmed, concerned about privacy, security… The reality is that algorithms are relatively benign and easy to understand (at least conceptually). It’s only the systems through which they are created and implemented that give rise to potential issues…

In the modern digital age, algorithms lie at the heart of all networks created on the internet and innovations emerging in areas, such as; AI, robotics, driverless cars, automation… Daily, people are exposed to ways in which websites use algorithms to perform– internet searches, personalize advertising, match potential romantic partners, recommend a variety of products and services… And some people may be perhaps less directly exposed but still affected by algorithms, such as; trading stocks, identifying terrorist suspects, assist in medical diagnostics, match organ donors… The multiplication of such uses is what gives rise to phenomenon of ‘algocracy’, i.e.; world is ruled and controlled by algorithms…

In the article Know More About Algorithms by Simon Elvery writes: Your life is dominated by algorithms, yet you know next-to-nothing about how they work, or their potential consequences… Hence it’s time that you learn and understand how algorithms work, and their growing impact on your life… The intrusion of algorithms in daily life is pervasive, in fact, it’s easy to overlook them entirely, or dismiss it simply as a natural consequence of modernity… While there is growing body of reports that discussion the critical nature of algorithms… most people don’t take the time or make the effort to learn how they may be impacting their lives… and still organizations continue to uses them to make important decisions that impacts everyone’s life…

Algorithms have become the arbiters of human decision-making; in almost any area you can imagine, from watching a movie, to buying a house, to self-driving cars… According to Barry Chudakov; the issue comes down to simple question: How can you learn, fully understand the implication, impact of algorithms on your actions and decisions? The answer is relatively straight forward– their overall impact on your daily life is incalculable, because their processes and transactions are mostly hidden from public view…

There is a general lack of algorithm literacy, which goes beyond basic digital literacy… Algorithms are invisible and even often referred to as ‘black box’ constructs… there is no transparency, no user interfaces, and the code is usually not available to the public… most people who use them are in the dark about how they work, or how/why/when they might be a threat… There a need for greater algorithmic literacy… Hence basic issues: Should you rely on them without knowing what they do? And who, if anyone, is policing them?