Filteren: Our only choice is to get assistance in making choices

Our only choice is to get assistance in making choices

07-Filtering (1:16) (48 views)

"We willen allemaal persoonlijk behandeld te worden, niet als een nummer; en overal waar we personalisaring willen volgt filteren"

De Bibliotheek van Alles, een lawine
There has never been a better time to be a reader, a watcher, a listener, or a participant in human expression. An exhilarating avalanche (opwindende lawine) of new stuff is created every year. Every 12 months we produce 8 million new songs, 2 million new books, 16,000 new films, 30 billion blog posts, 182 billion tweets, 400,000 new products. With little effort today, hardly more than a flick of the wrist, an average person can summon (oproepen, dagvaarden) the Library of Everyting. (p. 165)

Keuzes stapelen zich op
The result is an infinite (oneidige) hall of options. In every direction, countless (ontelbare) choices pile up (stapelen zich op). Despite obsolete (uitgestorven) occupations like buggy whip maker, the variety of careers to choose from expands (breidt zich uit). Possible places to vacation, to eat, or even kinds of food all stack up (stapelen zich op) each year. Opportunities (kansen) to invest explode. Courses (cursussen) to take, things to learn, ways to be entertained explode to astronomical proportions. There is simply not enough time in any lifetime to review (beoordelen, bekijken) the potential of each choice, one by one. It would consume more than a year’s worth of your attention to merely (om zelfs) preview all the new things that have been invented or created in the previous (voorbije) 24 hours. (p. 166)

Help gevraagd: filters (een zeef)
The vastness (onmetelijkheid) of the Library of Everything quickly overwhelms the very narrow ruts (het ‘enge spoor’) of our own consuming habits. We’ll need help to navigate through its wilds. Life is short, and there are too many books to read. Someone, or something, has to choose, or whisper in our ear to help us decide. We need a way to triage (om een eerste schifting te maken). Our only choice is to get assistance in making choices. We employ (zetten in) all manner of filtering to winnow (vernauwen) the bewildering spread of options. Many of these filters are traditional and still serve well:
* we filter by gatekeepers
* we filter by intermediates
* we filter by curators
* we filter by brands (merken)
* we filter by government
* we filter by cultural environment
* we filter by our friends
* we filter by ourselves

None of these methods disappear in the rising superabundance (overvloed). But to deal with the escalation (uitbreiding) of options in the coming decades, we’ll invent many more types of filtering. (p. 166-168)

Maar dan nog is er té veel keuze
The problem is that we start with so many candidates that, even after filtering out all but one in a million, you still have too many. There are more super great five-star movies that you can ever watch in your lifetime. There are more useful tools ideally suited to you than you have attention to spare. There are, in fact, more great bands, and books, and gizmos (gadgets) aimed right at you, customized to your unique desires, than you can absorb, even if it was your full-time job. (p. 168)

Drie manieren om te filteren
Nonetheless, we’ ll try to reduce this abundance to a scale that is satisfying. Let’s start with the ideal path.
() First I’d like to be delivered more of what I know. This personal filter already exists. It’s called a recommendation engine (aanbevelings machine). It is in wide use at Amazon, Netflix, LinkedIn, Spotify, Beats, and Pandora … (p. 168-169)

The danger of being rewarded (om te krijgen) with only what you already like, however, is that you can spin into an egotistical spiral, becoming blind to anything slightly different, even if you’d love it. This is called a filter bubble. The technical term is “overfitting”. You get stuck at a lower than optimal peak because you behave as if you have arrived at the top, ignoring the adjacent (aangrenzende) environment. There’s a lot of evidence this occurs in the political realm as well. (p. 170)

Second in the ideal approach, I’d like to know what my friends like that I don’t know about. In many ways, Twitter and Facebook serve up this filter. By following your friends, you get effortless (zonder enige moeite) updates on the things they find cool enough to share. ()
But friends can also act like a filter bubble if they are too much like you. Close friends can make an echo chamber, amplifying the same choices. (p. 170)

A third component in the ideal filter would be a stream that suggested stuff that I don’t like but would like to know. It’s a bit similar to me trying a least favorite cheese or vegetable every now and then just to see if my tastes have changed. ()
A filter dedicated to probing (uitproberen) one’s dislikes would have to be delicate, but could also build on the powers of large collaborative (samenwerkende) databases in the spirit of “people who disliked those, learned to like this one”. ()
Great teachers have a knack (talent) for conveying (aanreiken) unsavory (‘onsmakelijke’) packages to the unwilling in a way that not scare them off; great filters can too. But would anyone sign up for such a filter? (p. 170-171)

Google als super filteraar
Google is the foremost filterer in the world, making all kinds of sophisticated judgements about what search results you see. In addition to filtering the web, it processes 35 billion emails a day, filtering out spam very effectively, assigning labels and priorities, Google is the world’s largest collaborative filter, with thousands of interdependent dynamic sieves (zeven). If you opt in, it personalizes search results for you and will customize them for your exact location at the time you ask. (p. 172)

Filters zullen overal komen, zijn
As they mature (volwassen worden), filtering systems will be extended to other decentralized systems beyond media, to services like Uber and Airbnb. Your personal preferences (voorkeuren) in hotel style, status, and service can easily be ported to another system in order to increase your satisfaction when you are matched to a room in Venice. Heavily cognified, incredibly smart filters can be applied to any realm with a lot of choices - which will be more and more realms. Anywhere we want personalization, filtering will follow. (p. 172)

Alles in 'the cloud' zal worden gefilterd
We are still at the early stages in how and what we filter. These powerful computational technologies can be - and will be - applied to the internet of everything. The most trivial product or service could be personalized if we wanted it (but many times we won’t). In the next 30 years the entire cloud will be filtered, elevating the degree of personalization.
Yet every filter throws something good away. Filtering is a type of censoring, and vice versa. (p. 175)

De vloek van onze wereld vol overvloed (abundance)
But even in benign (onschuldig, vriendelijk) filtering, by design we see only a tiny fraction of all there is to see. This is the curse (de vloek) of the postscarcity world (de wereld waarin schaarsheid voorbij zal zijn): We can connect to only a thin thread of all there is. Each day maker-friendly technologies such as 3-D printing, phone-based apps, and cloud services widen the sky of possibilities another few degrees. So each day wider filters are needed to access this abundance at human scale. There is no retreat (terugtocht) from more filtering. The inadequacies (tekortkomingen) of filter cannot be remedied (verholpen) by eliminating filters. The inadequacies of a filter can be remedied only by applying countervailing (compenserende) filters upon it. (p. 176)

Het waardevolst: ons beperkt aantal uren per dag
From the human point of view, a filter focuses content (inhoud). But seen in reverse, from the content point of view, a filter focuses human attention (menselijke aandacht). The more content expands, the more focused that attention needs to become.
() Our attention is the only valuable resource (waardevolle grondstof) we personally produce without training. It is in short supply (een kleine voorraad) and everyone wants some of it. You can stop sleeping altogether and you will have only 24 hours per day of potential attention. Absolutely nothing - no money or technology - will ever increase that amount. The maximum potential attention is therefore fixed. Its production is inherently limited (beperkt) while everything else is becoming abundant (overvloedig). Since it is the last scarcity (schaarste), wherever attention flows, money will follow. (p. 176)
Yet for being so precious (waardevol), our attention is relatively inexpensive (goedkoop). It is cheap, because we give it away each day. We can’t save it up or hoard it (kunnen het niet opsparen of hamsteren). We have to spend it second by second, in real time. (p. 176)

Waar blijft het gros van onze 'vrije' tijd?
In the United States, TV still captures most of our attention, followed by radio, and then the internet. These three take the majority of our attention, while the others - books, newspapers, magazines, music, home video, games - consume only slivers of the total pie. (p. 176-177)

Veel wordt bijna gratis!
A major accelerant (versneller) in this explosion of superabundance - the superabundance that demands constant increasing in filtering - is the compounding cheapness of stuff. In general, on average, over time technology tends toward the free. That tends to make things abundant. At first it may be hard to believe that technology wants to be free. But it’s true for about most of the things we make. Over time, if a technology persists long enough, it costs begin to approach (but never reach) zero. ()
This is not just about computer chips and high-tech gear. Just about everything we make, in every industry, is headed in the same economic direction, getting cheaper every day. (p. 189)

Wat wordt niet (bijna) gratis: menselijke ervaringen
That leaves the big question in an age of plentitude (genoeg): What is really valuable? Paradoxically, our attention to commodities (artikelen, ‘dingen’) is not worth much. Our monkey mind is cheaply hijacked (gekaapt). The remaining (resterende) scarcity in an abundant society is the type of attention that is not derived (niet voortkomt uit) or focused on commodities. The only things that are increasing in cost while everything else heads to zero are human experiences - which cannot be copied. Everything else becomes commodized and filterable (p. 189-190)

The value of experience is rising
() These are not commodities. They are experiences. We give them our precious, scarce, fully unalloyed (overmengde) attention. To the creators of these experiences, our attention is worth a lot. Not coincidentally (niet toevallig), humans excel at creating and consuming experiences. This is no place for robots. If you want a glimpse of what we humans do when the robots take our current (huidige) jobs, look at experiences. That’s where we’ll spend our money (because they won’t be free) and that’s where we’ll make our money. We’ll use technology to produce commodities, and we’ll make experiences in order to avoid becoming a commodity ourselves. (p. 190)

De kracht van (onze) verschillen
The funny thing about a whole class of technology that enhances (verbetert) experience and personalization is that it puts great pressure on us to know who we are. We will soon dwell smack in the middle of the Library of Everything, surrounded by the liquid presence of all existing works of humankind, just within the reach of our fingertips, for free. The great filters will be standing by, quietly guiding us, ready to serve to our wishes. “What do you want?” the filters ask. “You can choose anything; what do you choose?” The filters have been watching us for years; they anticipate what we will ask. They can almost autocomplete (automatisch aanvullen) it right now. Thing is, we don’t know what we want. We don’t know ourselves very well. To some degree we will rely (vertrouwen) on the filters to tell us what we want. Not as slave masters, but as a mirror. We’ll listen to suggestions and recommendations that are generated by our own behaviour (gedrag) in order to hear, to see who we are. The hundred million lines of code running on the million servers of the intercloud are filtering, filtering, filtering, helping us to distill (distilleren) ourselves to a unique point, to optimize our personality. The fears that technology makes us more uniform, more commoditized are incorrect. The more we are personalized, the easier it is for the filters, because we become distinct (verschillend van elkaar, onderscheidend), an actualized distinction (verschil) they can reckon with. At its heart, the modern economy runs on distinction (onderscheid) and the power of differences (verschillen) - which can be accentuated by filters and technology. We can use mass filtering that is coming to sharpen who we are, for the personalization of our own person.

Filtering help ons onszelf te worden
More filtering is inevitable (onvermijdelijk) because we can’t stop making new things. Chief among the new things we will make are new ways to filter and personalize, to make us more like ourselves. (p. 190-191)

Twaalf technologische krachten die onze toekomst zullen vormen
01. Becoming (worden) - 02. Cognifying (slimmeren) - 03. Flowing (stromen) - 04. Screening (kijken) - 05. Accessing (toegangen) - 06. Sharing (delen) - 08. Remixing (remixen) - 09. Interacting (interacteren) - 10. Tracking (tracken) - 11. Questioning (vragen) - 12. Beginning (beginnen)   

(zaterdag 6 augustus 2016)
Hans van Duijnhoven

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