Data science has given us the opportunity to create, and speak to, personalized experiences. But increasingly, balancing a hyper-personalized experience with providing a balanced view of the world seems to be a challenge.
Much of the personalization achieved by brands is based on Artificial Intelligence algorithms. This tailors content to particular demographic profiles and serves people more of what they consume and more of what they like. However, if not done in a balanced way, this has the down side of providing an ever-decreasing spectrum of news and views – simply delivering more of the same.
Hollie Lubbock, Interaction Design Lead at Fjord, calls this “confirmation bias”. “Filter bubbles are reinforcing our own beliefs and I think there will be clear social repercussions”.
“As brand leaders, we need to take responsibility for how these algorithms are shaping people’s world views, and provide a counter-narrative”, she says. In order to build more empathy for the world we need to consume more balanced media and products, and hear from people who aren’t just like us.
An example of this filter-bubble phenomenon was the recent Brexit referendum in the UK. Neither side had any understanding of the other, each side acting as a filter-bubble, filtering out more rounded or differing views.
Hollie challenges brands to “break out of these bubbles to ensure that people have a more balanced media diet.”
It is clear that the responsibility lies with brands, who should be encouraged to behave as information curators, helping consumers navigate the vast amounts of information, products and services there are in the world, whilst also creating a sense of equilibrium.