I read this io9 article about algorithms, from George Dvorsky, and it struck a nerve.
Take a look at this link from the article, which is a TED talk by a dude called Eli Pariser.
What’s your reading plan? You have one, conscious or not. How you choose what to read is (part of) your algorithm for interpreting your world.
We can insulate ourselves from other points of view, we can rid the room of argument, by only reading what is safe or familiar. But then, why read at all? We all say we want a well-rounded view of the world. We claim we are open-minded and well-informed (or just assume we are) – but are we? Perhaps we are committed to a personal algorithm that only allows the familiar and the already agreed-upon. We don’t read that kind of novel, don’t watch that news show [rolls eyes], and we do not listen to her since she sold out. We’re growing smaller if we won’t actively choose to read (or watch or listen or connect) outside our “filter bubble”, as Mr. Pariser puts it.
To overstate it a bit: choosing what to read is choosing the limit of our growth.
If we’re at least willing to read a book about the glorious USMC or about crack addiction or that crunchy rascal from Portland or about a rogue pirate’s courtship of the crown princess or whatever thing does not fit into our current Weltanshauung or isn’t to our taste (kind of a narrowing word), we’re at least taking a look around. We might be influenced. We might learn something. It probably won’t kill us.
Don’t let your algorithm self-replicate yesterday’s version of you. There’s no point in reading, if it does.