Evslin: Amazon algorithm confirms my bias

by Tom Evslin

Monday I blogged the good news that the latest UN study projects world population topping out late in this century and then declining. I opined that this is yet one more good reason to avoid climate panic and act rationally  and effectively.

Tuesday Amazon sent me an email with the suggestions below:


The projected population decline, although not the UN report which is very recent, Is one of the highlights of Ten Global Trends. The need to avoid climate panic is the thesis of False Alarm.

“Hmm,” I thought, “Amazon is reading my blog and basing suggestions on it.” Turns out not to be true and I don’t read my posts to Alexa either.

“Everybody now thinks (and writes) what I think,” I thought next. Wrong again.

The explanation is very simple: I ordered Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet from Amazon last week. Jeff Bezos thought I’d like to read more of the same.

Can’t blame Amazon for selling me more like what I already read. What would be really useful for society, although not for selling books, would be to suggest books on the same subject but with a different point of view rather than reinforcing the biases I already have. Not sure I’d buy them, though.

The author, an author, entrepreneur, former Vermont state cabinet officer, lives in Stowe. He founded NG Advantage, a natural gas truck delivery company. This commentary is republished with permission from his blog, Fractals of Change.

Categories: Commentary