When Your Boss Is an Algorithm

In the New Inquiry Artist and Programmer, Sam Lavigne points out that we’re all working for free for machine learning algorithms. Worse than that, though, is that the nature of machine learning means that every time we interact with one of these algorithms we’re actually automating our own jobs out of existence. But describing this system as exploitative misses an important point, and the critique overlooks a more pertinent potential problem with working for machine learning algorithms.

Quick Intro to Machine Learning

…like, super quick. Machine learning allows computers to get better at doing things over time.

You teach Facebook’s face recognition algorithm how to do its job better.It works like this: the computer does a thing. Let’s say it suggests a restaurant for you to try tonight. Maybe you make a reservation. In that case, if the computer had a back and an arm it would pat itself on the back. But it doesn’t so the machine does nothing. But maybe you click “next.” In that case, the computer makes a small adjustment to its recommendation engine. With enough recommendations and enough “book” and “nexts,” the computer gets better and better at recommending restaurants. To learn more, check out the first three or so chapters of The Master Algorithm.

continue https://fee.org/articles/when-your-boss-is-an-algorithm/

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