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08/15/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/15/2023 11:17

How Algorithms Flatten Culture: A Conversation with Kyle Chayka of The New Yorker (Podcast)

"The internet demands that everyone be a kind of curator: you're a curator of your own Instagram, of your opinions on Twitter, of what playlists you listen to on Spotify. There's a lot of curation going on but it's more in the sense of selecting between stuff. Curation, to me, is a much more deep-seated act that has more to do with the caretaking of culture, building context, and creating histories that might be overlooked." - Kyle Chayka, Author, "Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture"

If you've heard of things like Instagram face or the Brooklyn coffee shop effect, you know the tremendous power algorithms have in shaping our lives. Journalist Kyle Chayka has been tracking this phenomenon for years and has concluded that algorithmically mediated digital platforms are not making our experiences better. In fact, he says, they are flattening our culture.

You don't have to wait for his book, "Filterworld," to come out in January 2024 to explore how this "algorithmification" of our social feeds is having profound effects on our media, communication, physical spaces, aesthetic preferences, consumer habits, and more.

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings from the conversation:

  • How algorithms can be simultaneously flattening and expanding culture
  • How to detox from algorithms
  • What makes a human curator worth following (and if journalists have a leg up)
  • The influencer backlash and de-influencing trend
  • How generative AI is impacting culture

The companion Storyboard also has the episode, plus everything Kyle recommended in the show.

You can find "The Art of Curation" podcast on Flipboard as well as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and anywhere else you might listen to podcasts. Please subscribe so you never miss an episode, and don't forget to rate, review and share, especially if you like what you hear. We'll have a new episode coming out each Tuesday until September.

- Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community and newsletters, is curating the curators for The Art of Curation