People Who Bought This, Also Bought This

Thanks to the algorithms that sweetly manipulate the dark chambers of the human consciousness, we’re constantly bombarded with all kinds of recommendations on a daily basis: If you’re following this person you can also follow these people. If you’ve chosen this item, these other items might be of interest. The people who looked at these images also looked at these.

All the social channels and shopping websites, which draw us in with their endless flow and opportunities for satisfaction, are (instead of surprising us with unexpected options or jostling our habits) encouraging us to increase the things we like and are attached to with affinity. Perhaps this is the intended nature of algorithms. After all, how can we become so addicted to the flow if it wasn’t meeting our expectations?

However, what reason lies behind the affirmation that mankind will want to repeat its preferences over and over again? Constant consumption and shopping is only one facet of the algorithm. If we continued to practice the same habits from the day we were born until now, how much could we have developed mentally and physically? How would we become flexible if we didn’t have to deal with the unexpected? How much would we have learned if we didn’t face those unexpected persons? How could we think comprehensively or experienced love and understanding without having heard ideas very far removed from our own?

It’s true that we’re at ease with those similar to us and that we enjoy our familiar comforts. However, when we live exclusively in the familiar realm, we enter a dangerous area: In our world, where we only make space for that which is similar to us, every other person, idea, choice, emotion, and action becomes either incomprehensibly strange or altogether threatening.

Is the world really like this, or are we changing it with every step we take?



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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