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HONORING MY MOTHER | The Pandemic of Algorithms




NO ONE has been quite sure when or how it really started. I, for one, have even swiped up and down, left and right to search through the many online platforms and pertinent fora just to get a real grasp of its true nature, but with little or no luck.

As mysterious as this present virus that’s been plaguing us, its presence is consistently concealed, yet you just know and feel that it’s there.

For us, the meek lambs inheriting the earth, we accept it may have come from the minds of natural predators and tormentors, the wolves. Surely, it wouldn’t have come from us for there are no traitors within our ranks.

We suffer equally, while their pack uses it to weave the plots that have been meant to take us in, in the real world either through advertising tricks, scams, and ploys.

All intended to grab our money, earn our loyalty and ensure that we are forever their source for sustenance. Just what is this invisible substance, a fountain of our bondage?

Algorithms. it’s almost like a minefield, hidden and triggered by every engagement we pursue online, by every click of the button, and every “like” that we send out.

Joanna Stern, a noted tech writer had once said that it is mainly programmed to keep our attention for as long as possible, continuously promoting a variety of stuff that we are most likely to “tap, share or heart…” then eventually setting aside other items that we may have read onscreen. Once under the total spell of this algorithm (which we’ve ironically initiated), practically everything else follows.

One may notice, if on YouTube, for example, you watched a martial arts flick, the suggested list of films that’ll surely accompany it would all belong to the same genre.

On both Facebook and Instagram, the viewing or liking of a particular subject will consequently invite a barrage or compilation of similar topics during your next login. Like or love the image of a freshly baked cake?

You’re sure to be flooded with baking tips, advertisements, and other related topics. In a sense, the spoon-feeding one instantaneously receives from all these will eventually expose one for more, in the end creating a sort of addiction, as some sociopaths, er sociologists hypothesize.

Seriously? Look at the whole phenomenon any way you like, but one’s every move is suspect, unless you log out from the virtual landscape. For many I know, the question would be What to do?

Unless your work involves being online, there’s a lot still to do despite social distancing, quarantine, and the threat of contagion.

Deep in your heart, ponder on the wonderful promise of a healthy life, so exercise. Develop your thinking prowess so that appreciation of the world is seen under new lenses, so read a lot. Detach from virtual entertainment and indulge in walking or indulge in sports, so go.

At the end of another day, especially once you’ve accomplished some of these, the temptation of the LED screen will surely come again, and you’ll find yourself tormented and tested. You only have two choices: be like Gollum (of my precious fame), or you can be like Frodo. Come to think of it, both were slaves to the one ring, right? so, oh well, log in it is, Lazada is having a sale.

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