Tana Tanoi

Games, Longboarding, Swing Dancing
Technical Designer @ Dinosaur Polo Club

Echo Chambers, Filter Bubbles, and Our Responsibility as Software Engineers

A white paper on software engineering ethics


During my time at university, I had the opportunity to write a paper on anything I felt interested in (within the realm of engineering). I took this opportunity to write about something I had been thinking about over the last year and a bit: Echo Chambers and their relation to software engineering ethics.

To give some context, this assignment was just after the chaotic 2016 American presidential elections and during the 2017 New Zealand general elections. I explored how software giants like Google, Facebook, and news outlets in general could influence the world, and more specifically, the growing political divides. With "personalised" ads and "curated" social media feeds labelled as a service to a consumer, how much do algorithms contribute to this group polarization?

tl;dr the influence of social media has such a large impact that some companies attempt to alleviate it on their platforms. Combined with the fact that users are enabled and encouraged to find like-minded individuals, they often only find voices that confirm and validate their opinions.

I've embedded the original white paper below, and you can download the PDF here.

Oops, the embed didn't work. See here: here.