Algorithmic Anxiety

The question is how digital tech picks and chooses the content that comes to your phones and your brain, or, as Kyle Chayka puts it in a brave new book Filterworld: “how algorithms flattened culture.” What is the chance that devices that know your likes and dislikes better than you do are ever going to surprise you or teach you? What’s the tilt, over time, of an information system that’s tuned to the smiley face?

Kyle Chayka with Chris.

The joke version is that the algorithm walks into the bar and the bartender asks, “What would you like?” And of course, the algorithm answers, without thinking, “I’ll have what everyone else is having.” Kyle Chayka seems to have answered the question why TikTok voices and Instagram faces are so uniform, why AirBnB is showing what looks like the same room for rent all over the planet, why pop music is down to one super-singer who can fill stadiums all over the earth, for an Eras tour that could go on forever. We’re talking about algorithmic culture in a brave new world.

Guest List
Kyle Chayka
Staff writer at The New Yorker.

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