Data crunching has grown so sophisticated and powerful,
privacy researchers now warn that tracing identities from a pool of supposedly “anonymized” data is not just a possibility,
it’s a certainty.
Recently, I ran across the phrase “the tyranny of algorithms.” It sounded important and something I should know more about in my quest for digital literacy. I tried to puzzle it out. Tyranny? Was that the heavy boot of a despotic ruler grinding into the backs of millions of people? Algorithm sounded mathematical. I thought it might be a way to sort data to find answers.
I googled the phrase. Many resources surfaced. A short Khan Academy video explained algorithms. The first definition surprised me with its simplicity and application to any project. Their examples were traveling from home to the train station or making a grilled cheese sandwich. It said: “algorithm (noun) a set of steps to accomplish a task.”
The second definition explained computer algorithms: “start with input data, do complex calculations, stop when we find answer.” The video (4.5 minutes) made it easy to understand algorithms. Read more