What is an Algorithm? (01:50)
Kevin Slavin compares algorithms to a new species capable of sensing the world and acting upon input.
Bus Uncle Company (03:41)
A Singapore chat bot advises travelers on the most efficient bus routes while providing humorous conversation. Founder Abhilash Murthy explains his inspiration for developing the algorithm that converts raw data into understandable language.
Programs that Learn (03:37)
Algorithms perform repetitive tasks involving data. AI allows code to write its own code, effectively becoming creative and making decisions. By letting a computer run his life, Max Hawkins encountered moral issues.
Code Control (05:58)
Hawkins programmed algorithms to produce commands related to his activities, destinations, and appearance that are sent to a printer. He has used this random to-do list since leaving his Google engineering job to question personal bias.
Man vs. Machine (05:43)
Singapore Symphony members perform original works inspired by Joseph Haydn and Igor Stravinsky. The pieces are judged based on how well they interpret the original composers. One is written by Morpheus, an algorithm. Chen Zhanyi's piece wins the competition.
Computer scientist Dorien Herremans and musician Elaine Chu are training a music-making algorithm to compose coherent, long pieces of music—including “teaching” it about tension. Computing power has increased one trillion times in the past 60 years.
System Biases (02:14)
Hawkins got a tattoo selected at random. Algorithms present him with moral dilemmas, such as attending a funeral. He is able to sidestep control issues, as the programmer, but has discovered that input can influence their decisions.
Poor Algorithm Decision (02:19)
United Airlines selected Dr. David Dao for removal on an overbooked flight. He refused, and was dragged from his seat—resulting in a PR scandal. Banks, ride share providers, and insurance companies use algorithms to make decisions and streamline processes.
Knowledge Equals Power (03:20)
Manhattan's Western Union building houses Internet company servers that collect 2.5 quintillion bytes of user data each day. These are gathered through text message, searches, and social media posts.
Fake It and Make It (07:00)
Facebook uses filtering and ordering algorithms to decide what users see in customized news feeds—according to their preferences. Learn about the fake news phenomenon and its role in shaping public opinion. Facebook is partnering with fact checkers to reduce misinformation.
Credits: Algorithms: How They Rule Our World: Episode 1 (00:39)
Credits: Algorithms: How They Rule Our World: Episode 1
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