Visual Filter


My undergraduate major is Internet and New Media, which is now regarded as a very promising discipline. The things related to new media are also highly expected by people and the market, such as big data.


When learning how to apply the latest theories and techniques, I always feel insecure about them except information security issues. We must admit the importance of big data and the value it brings to society, but it is ridiculous to deify it. In some cases, the statement “based on statistical analysis of big data” has an authoritative tone, it means true, accurate and reliable.


Nowadays, all of our accounts, all published information and shopping lists, all browsing history can be saved as big data. In reality, our preferences, habits, and behaviors are also captured and transformed into big data. All of them gradually affect our self-awareness and finally shapes the second self in the virtual world. Based on big data, the recommendation algorithm can be easily adjusted according to people’s preferences. This technique brings much convenience and saves lots of time, but also creates a tailored filter that blocks seemingly meaningless and useless information, which is also an essential part of the real world that should not be ignored. As a result, as time goes by, the information being blocked can finally become invisible, resulting in a biased world in one’s eyes.


The problem is, it’s hard to ignore or get rid of these filters even if you already realize their existence, just like the eye-catching white frame in my photos. It’s a real picture frame, but sometimes audiences cannot distinguish whether it is true when it appears in a two-dimensional picture. This white frame always attracts most attention of audiences when they look at the whole picture. I deliberately chose the part of the picture with proper composition and color to be inside the frame. It's like a picture shown in a gallery, in people's point of view, it can be beautiful as well as meaningful. On the other hand, the rest part of the photo that is outside the frame, like the information being blocked by the filter, seems redundant.


Although big data is beneficial in many fields, this drawback of it can make people's horizon become narrower. This is the world of big data in my view, a limited, biased information system.