I?can still recall my surprise when a book by evolutionary biologist Peter Lawrence entitled The Making of a Fly came to be priced on Amazon at $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping).
While my colleagues around the world must have become rather depressed that an academic book could achieve such a feat, the steep price was actually the result of algorithms feeding off each other and?spiralling?out of control.
It turns out, it wasn't just sales staff being creative: algorithms were calling the shots.
This eye-catching example was spotted and corrected. But what if such algorithmic interference happens all the time, including in ways we don't even notice??
If our reality is becoming increasingly constructed by algorithms, where does this leave us humans?
Our exploration led us to the conclusion that, over time, the roles of information technology and humans have been reversed.?
In the past, we humans used technology as a tool. Now, technology has advanced to the point where it is using and even controlling us.
We humans are not merely cut off from the decisions that machines are making for us but deeply affected by them in unpredictable ways.?
Instead of being central to the system of decisions that affects us, we are cast out in to its environment.
The birds circled in a slow spiral above the house.
Prices are spiralling out of control.