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+DS vLE: Recommendation Systems and the Surveillance Economy

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Sarah Rispin Sedlak and Akshay Bareja

Recommendation systems-such as the algorithms powering Netflix, suggesting jobs to apply for, and curating Facebook feeds-are powerful tools that can help users navigate an overwhelming array of choices. However, these systems can have negative side effects if left unchecked. In this vLE, we will introduce you to a few popular recommendation-system algorithms, how they work, and discuss how their use may promote homogenization and polarization among target audiences. These effects, while lucrative to service providers, can have negative social consequences.

This session is part of the Duke+DataScience (+DS) program virtual learning experiences (vLEs). To learn more, please visit