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Book The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think

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The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Eli Pariser(Author)

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Book by Pariser, Eli

Book by Pariser, Eli

4.3 (12419)
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Supported Devices Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone/iPod Touch.
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Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • Eli Pariser(Author)
  • Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • English
  • 9
  • Politics & Social Sciences

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Review Text

  • By Adam Thierer on June 7, 2011

    Eli Pariser's "Filter Bubble" largely restates a thesis developed a decade ago in both Cass Sunstein's "Republic.com" and Andrew L. Shapiro's "The Control Revolution," that increased personalization is breeding a dangerous new creature -- Anti-Democratic Man. "Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another's point of view," Pariser notes,"but instead we're more and more enclosed in our own bubbles."Pariser worries that personalized digital "filters" like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pandora, and Netflix are narrowing our horizons about news and culture and leaving "less room for the chance encounters that bring insights and learning." "Technology designed to give us more control over our lives is actually taking control away," he fears.Pariser joins a growing brigade of Internet pessimists. Almost every year for the past decade a new book has been published warning that the Internet is making us stupid, debasing our culture, or destroying social interaction. Many of these Net pessimists -- whose ranks include Andrew Keen (The Cult of the Amateur), Lee Siegel (Against the Machine), Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget) and Nicholas Carr (The Shallows) -- lament the rise of "The Daily Me," or the rise of hyper-personalized news, culture, and information. They claim increased information and media customization will lead to close-mindedness, corporate brainwashing, an online echo-chamber, or even the death of deliberative democracy.Implicitly, criticisms like those set forth by Net pessimists represent a call for a return to a "simpler time" and some mythical "good ol' days" when someone wiser than us was setting the agenda, or when our options were limited to things that were supposedly better for us. But were we really better off back then? It's largely revisionist history. The good ol' days weren't so great. By most measures we're more informed and interactive than ever before. Here's a simple test that works particularly well for anyone over the age of 35: Did you have more serendipitous encounters with alternative viewpoints before or after the rise of the Internet?Most of us had very limited interactions with people and ideas beyond our communities before the Net. Even as modern technology has allowed increased user-customization, it has also opened our eyes to a world of new ideas, perspectives, and culture. The Digital Age is more personalized but also more participatory. It promotes greater cultural heterogeneity and gives everyone a better chance to be heard.Pariser doesn't offer much of a blueprint regarding how he'd like to change things. That's unsurprising since the logical conclusion to draw from his thesis is that someone should be doing more to de-personalize the Net and force us to consume more information that they think is good for us.The problem with this "eat your greens" approach -- besides being somewhat elitist -- is that it just isn't practical. People will continue to want, and get, a more personalized web experience. But that doesn't mean deliberative democracy is dying. As the existence of MoveOn.org and countless groups like it proves, vigorous debate and political activism have never been stronger.

  • By Ben Wikler on May 12, 2011

    The Filter Bubble is an outstanding book--a compelling and important argument, delivered persuasively through real reporting, analysis, telling anecdote and hard data.One of Eli Pariser's central points is that personalized internet services--Google, Facebook, advertising--can put you into a "you loop", in which they show you what you think you want, and then you wind up wanting those things more because you see them more often. Invisibly, your momentary impulses (click on this, ignore that) shape your reality, and your reality shapes what you respond to.Since reading the book, I've found myself compulsively testing one of its main case studies: Google's automatically personalized search results. Try searching for "guns": I don't see the NRA on the first page, but friends do. Huge differences on "abortion" too: some people see Planned Parenthood, other people see Catholic.com. Even searching for "bias" shows different results to me vs my wife!Drawing on history, academic research, exclusive interviews, and a huge range of other sources, the author takes a hard look at the algorithms that increasingly shape how all of us think. He contends that unchecked profit-centric personalization threatens democracy. When you read the book, you'll come away convinced. And you'll appreciate how the book itself makes our democracy stronger.

  • By Tejas Patil on February 11, 2017

    This books feels much more timely and urgent given the results of the 2016 US presidential election. The main thesis, that personalization of the internet is 1) far more all-encompassing than we would like to to believe and 2) has downstream consequences in how we organize our views on the world is very intriguing and the author promotes a very compelling concern regarding these issues. However, I really wish this book had been edited more tightly. His writing style is very scatterbrained and it almost feels like he was rushing to write this whole work during a frenzied weekend at a coffee shop. For example, he has a chapter that spans ideas from Popper and Dostevesky, follows up the next chapter with a cold opener about B2 stealth bomber, and follows it pro-Iraq war propaganda. Mr. Pariser has annoying habit of restating his main thesis ad nausem as if this makes his case more true (Spoiler alert: it doesn't). Finally, the final chapters of the book are a real drag where he does a lot of speculating into what personalization in the future might look like. There certainly are passages that are very intriguing (specifically the ones involving how companies like Facebook and Google gather big data), but overall, I was really expecting more from this work.


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