#SMWNYC

May 5-7, 2020




Are We Choosing Ignorance? The Price We Pay for Personalization, presented by the Economist Group

Hosted by The Economist Group

  • Thursday, February 25, 2016

  • 4:30 PM - 5:20 PM

  • Venue: TimesCenter (FWD Stage)

  • Track:



Access to information and diverse opinions is a requirement for free societies to function. Informing the populace has traditionally been the role of the press, driven and overseen by the minds of journalists, editors and publishers. Until now.

Will data be the new Editor-in-Chief? With the rise of machine learning and the availability of data, both publishers and platforms rely on algorithms, analytics and data modeling to personalize content to no end. A reader’s interaction with content becomes part of an optimization equation, based on preferences, actions taken online and the communities they belong to. Is this a good thing?

As Iran’s “blogfather” Hossein Derakhshan writes in The Guardian, “links are not objects, they are relations between objects.” It isn’t a deliberate act, but in the quest for efficiency and service, plurality is being squashed and the information we are being served is becoming more insular.

Does journalism suffer without a human touch? Is there room for editors and algorithms to work side by side? And how will platforms and publications balance the needs of the individual while still serving the public at large?

This panel session is aimed at all levels of brand, media and agency representatives who are immersed in digital as part of their products, experience, content, service, communication or marketing. A range of panelists from tech companies, publishers and the world of journalism will leave participants with questions on how they are viewing the world based on the lens of content they peer through, and how we need to be more vigilant in exploring outside of the digital box we’ve been placed into.

Moderated by Patrick Foulis, New York bureau chief and US business editor at The Economist, panelists include Neal Mann from The Wall Street Journal (Editor), Jason Baldridge from People Pattern and the University of Texas (Co-founder at People Pattern and Associate Professor of Computational Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin) and Matt Turck from FirstMark Capital (Managing Director).

Event Location



Social Media Week

Are We Choosing Ignorance? The Price We Pay for Personalization, presented by the Economist Group

February 25, 2016 - 4:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Hosted by The Economist Group




Jason Baldridge

Jason Baldridge

Co-founder, People Pattern

Patrick Foulis

Patrick Foulis

New York bureau chief and US business editor, The Economist

Neal Mann

Neal Mann

Director of Content Strategy, Anomaly

Matt Turck

Matt Turck

Managing Director, FirstMark Capital