How to beat the algorithms and become a better-informed person

By Jessica McKenzie

The following stories all address ways in which expectations, precedents, and like-begets-like can stifle, hinder, and hold back society — and how breaking from tradition can be revolutionary. Cara Marsh Sheffler broached this issue in an article for the Anti-Nihilist Institute that made the case for diversifying the liberal media, but this problem is not limited to news and storytelling: it extends to politics, elections, and to personal technology.

“Flooding” is a term to describe the effect of tens or hundreds of media outlets reporting the same story simultaneously, all with the same point of view. The result is an echo chamber that drowns out dissent and sidelines important stories. How can we outsmart the algorithms and be better informed? Read more.

Big Tech is eroding our expectations of privacy by offering us convenience. When ordinary people try to resist — as in the case of an English village that tried to stop Google Street View from mapping their village, Big Tech wears down opposition with “years of litigation, media misdirection, and political manipulation, until the land grab becomes established fact.” The only response to this can be: “Create friction”; do not go gently, etc. Read more.

Speaking of obsolete structures and habits holding society back — shall we consider the electoral college? As the debate over the future of our elections rages, it’s worth considering the pros and cons, and why some people are so invested in the status quo. Read the op-ed.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Tina Brown makes the case that women leading like women can pave the way for a more just, even-keeled society — she points to Jacinda Ardern’s response to the Christchurch massacre as an example. Read the op-ed, “What Happens When Women Stop Leading Like Men.”

Jessica McKenzie is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her on Twitter @jessimckenzi.

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