Algorithms: you hear about them, you know they’re behind your screens, and you may even be here as a result of one right now. Still high off the anxiety-driven craze that was Netflix’s The Social Dilemma, many have found themselves curious about what exactly algorithms are. You always hear people go on about mindless sheep operating in an echo chamber thanks to the algorithm, but what does this mean?
The conversations surrounding algorithms are more frequent now than in the past because they’re in the mainstream. It’s no long just scientists that are aware computers learn on their own when given a few simple instructions. That’s really all that algorithms are: mathematical instructions.
Algorithms are like following a cake recipe to bake a cake. However, what’s pretty startling is that, unlike when baking a cake, sometimes you don’t have to tell computers exactly what to do every step of the way for a result to materialise. Rather than follow only explicitly programmed instructions, some algorithms are designed to allow computers to learn on their own (i.e., facilitate machine learning).
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