Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2017

Illusion of free choices

An interesting BBC article notes that social media platforms like Facebook are not merely reflecting our preferences but also actively shaping them though "nudge like": Platforms like Facebook are curating our news and information under catchall headings like “trending topics”, or criteria like “relevance” – but we only rarely get glimpses into how the filtering happens. This is important because subtle changes in the information we are exposed to can transform our behaviour. To understand why, consider an insight from behavioural science that has been widely adopted by governments and other authorities around the world: the policy “nudge”. This is where subtle tactics are used to encourage us to adopt a particular behaviour. One famous example is making organ donation opt-out rather than opt-in. Instead of requiring people to register themselves as organ donors, an opt-out system automatically assumes that anyone’s organs can be used for donation unless they have specified…