Algorithms can be very useful, especially when filtering through lots and lots of information. They can help us identify trends, quickly sum up popular concepts, and detect outliers at very early stages. I'd like to believe that my role as a data scientist is to give the digg editors superpowers - help them find quality content as early as possible.
With the growing amount of information/content published, and people’s continued expectation that “news will find them”, there's no doubt we need to depend on algorithmic mechanisms. But we also need to design these algorithmic systems while questioning ourselves – what is it that we’re optimizing? Is it only “eyeballs” or is there a higher cause we should aim for?
The choices that we make when designing these systems are like setting the rules of a game: they determine who wins and who loses.