Program Yourself or Consent to Be Programmed

Human beings program algorithms, then algorithms return the favor—especially on social apps. Both the programmers and their pets want to change your behavior, as long as it keeps you on the platform. They call that metric “engagement,” when you are anything but. How can you be engaged when you are passively scrolling through pictures of other people’s lives, instead of out there living your own? To keep you scrolling, the algorithm provides whatever it thinks you like, learning from every move you make (and perhaps every breath you take). The more you scroll and like and comment, the more it knows exactly what to serve up to keep your attention.

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