Science

[Clin d’œil] Clicks, codes and bubbles

If he were in front of his computer, Gainsbourg would sing to us today: “I click, small clicks, always small clicks, clicks that click me, clicks that trace me, I click, small clicks, more small clicks.” The story of a boy who spends his time clicking and realizes that he is planting small stones in his computer or smartphone, thanks to which a digital robot follows him and knows everything he does in life, what you like, what you consume and even most of what you think.

This guy obviously looks like us. Unless we are within this small minority of refractory who have decided that a telephone, even a cell phone, is only used for telephoning. And let them consider that we do not need to spend most of our time with our heads down, like the peasant couple who religiously listen to the Angelus bell ringing.

On the other hand, all the others that we are can no longer do without these devices, since we have entrusted most of our existence and much of our memory to them, with codes or passwords that have become our second set of keys. . And that we also sometimes search by cursing, unless we have taken the precaution of tattooing all our codes behind the dog’s ear.

All this makes the fortune of the large digital platforms to which we thus offer for free what their business does: our robotic portrait that they market to all types of users and all types of users. This is the rule of the game and we know it.

“In the bubbling world of the Internet, opaque programs work in the shadows: algorithms. They can influence our opinions ”.

But there is a digital tool that we know much less about: the enigmatic algorithms. Sophisticated programs that send a large amount of information to our small screens that we have not requested. They happen by themselves and, for the most part, they interest us. Obviously! The algorithms have selected them because they correspond to our portrait of a robot and the research we do on the Internet. In return, they send us information with catchy and sometimes controversial titles, which already correspond to our tastes and our ways of thinking, becoming consolidated in our certainties.

The questions about these algorithms are being raised more forcefully now that we are at the confluence of the epidemic and the presidential elections. Thus, all those who had doubts about vaccines and shared them on social networks were, in return, fed with information sent by these algorithms, supporting their anti-vaccine opinion. In good faith, many of them told themselves that the whole planet thinks like them.

These digital programs end up confining us to information bubbles and we can measure the danger for public debate if we are all covered up, entrenched in our certainties. We can also imagine what a second round of the presidential elections could take place if these algorithms begin to side with one of the two candidates.

The notoriety of Eric Zemmour or the Green Sandrine Rousseau is also, in part, the same process. The effect of curiosity around these personalities and the research we are beginning to learn about are triggering reactions from these algorithms that provide information and amplify the notoriety of these new political actors. This is how a complex and opaque system operates that has not yet conquered all territories. The proof: The only real scoop on Zemmour to date, it’s this good old Paris-Match who won it.

Back to top button