Saturday, October 21, 2023

A summary of my book

My book is the untold story of the algorithms that shape our lives, how they went terribly wrong, and how to fix them.

Most people now have at least a vague idea that algorithms choose what we see on our favorite online platforms. On Amazon they recommend millions of products. On Facebook they predict whether we’re more likely to click on a cute animal video or a rant about Donald Trump. At Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and every other site on the internet, they serve billions of users with billions of recommendations. But most people don’t know how all those algorithms really work — or why in recent years they began filling our screens with misinformation.

Other books have described the abundant misinformation, scams, and propaganda on many platforms, but this is the first to offer practical fixes to misinformation and disinformation across the entire internet by focusing on how and why algorithms amplify harmful content. This book offers solutions to what has become the biggest problem on the internet, using insider knowledge from my 30 years of experience in artificial intelligence, recommender systems, search, advertising, online experimentation, and metrics, including many years at Amazon, Microsoft, and startups.

Many assume “the problem with algorithms” is a tech problem, but it’s actually an incentives problem. Solutions must begin with the incentives driving the executives who run platforms, the investors who fund them, the engineers who build and optimize algorithms, and the content creators who do whatever it takes to maximize their own visibility. Ultimately, this is a book about people and how people optimize algorithms.

Equipped with insider knowledge of why these algorithms do what they do, readers will finish this book with renewed hope, practical solutions, and ready to push for change.

(this was a summary of my book, and I will be posting more excerpts from the book here)

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