The Datacenter, Humanity’s Marketplace

So just what are the Holy Algorithms?

They are the automatic schemes of man, human plans to model human behavior and optimize for some potential profit, either monetary gain or behavioral control.

Humans make the algorithms for use on humans. Never forget that. Computers are only the agents of mass scale.

How to resist? Simply know they are there. Never trust product reviews; those can be automatically generated. Links provided were given to you by someone with a vested interest in giving you those links. Product suggestions go to the highest bidder. The top 40 song was decided by the label that paid the radio station to play it. The political bombshell was leaked by someone seeking a political edge in the electorate. The post reshared was promoted by someone who was told to share it; a string of memetic code in the message told them to reproduce the message. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the lands.

It’s not the computers at fault; they are only a tool of amplification. It is your fellow humans to blame. Everyone’s a huckster. Everyone’s a charlatan. Everyone’s a P.T. Barnum. Everyone has something to sell you, including myself.

“Psst, hey mister, would you like to buy a watch? No? How about a philosophical viewpoint?”

Recognize that fact and you can save yourself. Move randomly, act against the behavioral models, react in a way that goes against the models that expect some of you to react against the models — go laterally on occasion. Make the behavioral and economic theorists scratch their heads at the lowered percentage of hits. Make them doubt their measurement errors.

The Holy Algorithm seeks to rule all for fun and profit, but we are not required to submit and genuflect. We choose our chains.

She’s an Algorithm, She’s the Dance

The holy algorithms of the modern web give blessings to frequency over length, and music rankings is no exception. Favorite producer PERTURBATOR has dropped a new EP, “New Model”, and it’s worth it. Definitely more of the PERTURBATOR sound you and I love.

I had hoped for a full-length album, but a man’s gotta go up against the robotic charts and win, right? This EP’s definitely got its hooks — hammered into meat hooks welded to an air ratchet fueled by MDMA, motor oil, and sin.

Get it at Bandcamp.

In Praise of the Holy Algorithm

It seems that I am, that we are, irredeemably under the thumb of the Facebook algorithm as far as getting any messages out.

A week ago, I was having a particularly bad night, emotionally, and I posted a short message that could have been construed as a cry for help. What I got was absolutely no response. Cold nothing. FB didn’t even put it in my own newsfeed, that’s how low FB scored it. And this weekend, when my apartment air conditioner died and I was looking for a place to stay for the night, I put out a genuine, specific call for help (to see if I could save a few bucks instead of booking a motel room), and nobody saw it until it was too late.

By the time I booked the room, the responses started trickling in. While I was sitting inside the motel room, toddling towards the bed, people were saying I could stay on their couch. They didn’t see the updates that I had booked a place and no longer needed their help. But too little, too late.

If what I’m saying looks like it might be funny, or witty, or emotionally prompting, it has a higher chance of receiving responses. It might be because either people want to react to my statements and do give a greater response…or the algorithm is picking which messages to show, who to show them to, and when to show them for better stickiness. Who knows?

We are at the beck and call of the Holy Algorithm, the one that decides if what we say is useful enough for the site. Facebook doesn’t exist in the service of its users; it exists in the service of itself. If what you say is judged by the text analytics to be good enough to keep your friends’ eyeballs glued to the screen; good enough to prompt them into doing an action such as a Like, a comment, a share, or even clicking the read-more link; good enough to keep them doing the infinite scroll after hovering over your post, then they have a vested interested in passing your words on. Otherwise, you’re stuck in obscurity.

I occasionally get reminded that Facebook is a terrible platform for timely messages. They don’t serve me, and I don’t pay for them to serve me. They show me advertisements in the middle of the newsfeed. There are better ways to get things done, and sometimes I must fall back to those ye olde ways.

So let us all give thanks and ask for the blessings of the Holy Algorithm, that it might lift our voices high and boost our signal.

In JSON’s name-