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80 | Mreža » Web Lajfstaj l / L i festyle Digital algorithm damnation We have grown lazy in our expectation that newsfeeds will show us what we want to see, read and listen to. Can we really discover the world that surrounds us without “live” recommendations? Though I know it shouldn’t be the case, I start eachmorning by reaching for my mobile phone with half-closed eyes. Yes, it’s partly because I want to shut off the alarm before the bedroom becomes stressful, and partly because I’m interested in knowing the temperature before I get ready to walk the dog. Still, honestly, I head for the Instagram icon first instinctively, as though I have to compensate for everything that happened on the feed during the night. And even though I’ll findmostly predictable things there – like unclear song lyrics resounding in a poorly lit club or thoughtful selfies shot for all but dedicated to just one person – that famous algorithmkeepsme fromtearingmyself away from the scroll. However, this virtual picture book that’s bloated to become a global, multimillion-dollar machine to cater for our lifestyle desires isn’t the only one that owes its success to continuous content crafted courtesy of a complex formula of memorised preferences. Wherever we go, the software strives to provide us with suggestions of things that we might like - or to completely indiscreetly direct our attention towards carefully sponsored options in our sphere of interest. From war news, via vacuum cleaner ads, to that “play something” option onNetflix that drags you into a whirlwind of shows that you weren’t even aware existed – one of the habits of our digital age that doesn’t seem in the slightest bit innocent is for us, more or less willingly, to leave the decision-making process up to themachine. And it seems that that isn’t any more obviously counterintuitive than when it comes to music playlists. Services like Spotify and Deezer have taken over the role of radio DJs, offering us singable songs sorted according toourmood and previous listening options. It’s clear that the algorithm recognises which guitar riffs I go wild for, remembers the artists I’ve searched for, and has a sense for which vocals I’ll appreciate. However, can advanced data analytics really hit us like the feeling when our favourite track starts playing at a club? No, which is why we so often skip songs on the playlist. As easy as it might be to assume my preferences, they don’t tell the whole truth aboutme, or how I essentially react to new things. No, the algorithm doesn’t have a clue how interested I’ll be in the story of a certain artist, whether I’ll think the drummer of a band is a total champion or an utter lunatic, nor does it know a million other pieces of the puzzle that connects us to music. No, software can’t be a friend that gifts you an album with an emotional value higher than that of gold, because it changes your life. Nor does any of the aggressiveness of precalculated selection prepare you for the independent discovery of that which you will truly enjoy. It only gives you more of what you’ve said you like, and no one ever really grows mentally from what they’ve already seen and heard – rather we grow when we remember something from the first millisecond. Just like a blind date that will determine your romantic destiny, the right playlist is one that awakens emotion on “shuffle” mode. how to escape i t? Ne, softver nemože biti prijatelj koji ti pokloni ploču sa emotivnom vrednošću većomod zlata No, software can’t be a friend that gifts you an albumwith an emotional value higher than that of gold Foto: profimedia.rs / "Ingram Publishing / Alamy