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No ctrl: how my life got taken over by machines

We created algorithms. Now they are moulding us—and for the worse

Algorithms are ubiquitous. Scroll through your social media feed or chat to Siri and you’re interacting with them. Illustration: Hannah Berry

According to the internet, I’m middle-aged and married with teenage kids. I like to watch romantic movies, rock out to the blues, and immerse myself in craft projects. Oh, and I’m really interested in “vacuums and floor care” and computer programming.

This is the version of myself I encountered when I recently waded into Google’s personalisation settings. I was trying to figure out why, when I go online, I’m trailed by adverts for brightly coloured, diaphanous clothing of the kind that screams “quirky art teacher.” I didn’t emerge much the wiser, and only one of those demographic attributes…

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