Heart and algorithms

Dear Mr. Gramellini, dear Mr. Vespignani ,

I disagree, for what that’s worth, with both of you. I don’t think that an algorithm could represent the dark side of a “class of intellectuals with crab-shaped hearts and dollar-shaped eyes”, nor that it stands for the promised land of a society submerged by data.

Going beyond the quality of Kleinberg’s work, I think is useless – and superficial – to liquidate algorithms, as much as I find wrong to identify them as the force behind the creation of “a ruling class that does not understand the modern world.”

The algorithms will be increasingly involved in the education of our kids, willy-nilly. Through online platforms, games, apps and content channeled to them through personalized learning paths. Fantastic or dangerous? We have to understand the phenomenon in order to avoid the potential damage and enhance its potential.

What does an algorithm?  Algorithms are able to decide in place of a person, a little brutally, removing emotions and intuition from the decisions. But history teaches us that the very irrationality, intuition and serendipity have always been the basis of the most amazing innovations (Christopher Columbus made it clear). How do we ensure that these magical ingredients are not excluded? I think the answer is – once again – the man (the same who invented algorithms!).

The man, who creates the algorithm, is responsible for preserving the magic ingredients of any decision: emotion, intuition, serendipity! Algorithms + heart = growth and improvement, not only “anticipate human behavior and feeding to advertisers”! I am sure that the publisher decides how much to pay Gramellini not only on the basis of the algorithm that determines the online success of his pieces.


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