Algorithm is not a Four-Letter Word: Understanding the Benefits of Data Collection

dumbass-tweet
A questionable tweet from Daily Mail writer Piers Morgan. Screenshot taken from twitter.

Algorithm is a word we hear more and more frequently in the digital age. But what exactly is an algorithm?

Simply put, an algorithm is “just a series of instructions – a set of rules to solve a problem.”

Algorithms play an important role in the world of computer programming- they are employed by search engines like Google and social media like Facebook. Algorithms can be used to collect information on users, and for this reason, many are understandably wary of them and the threat they pose to privacy.

But instead of eschewing algorithms and data collection as a 1984-esque problem, we need to make an effort to understand what algorithms actually do, and the benefits they offer as well as the risks.

Continue reading

Wearable Technology, Wearable “Surveillance”

a_google_glass_wearer
A Google Glass User. Posted to Wikimedia Commons Loic Le Meur

Technological advances have given rise to “wearable technology,” which includes small, lightweight devices that can be attached to clothes or worn. An example is one of Google’s newer products, Google Glass, which displays information from smartphones on a pair of glasses.

This technology is the wave of the future, but it comes with serious ethical dilemmas and potential problems.

Is it worth the technological advancement?

Continue reading