How we choose what we choose is changing – should it?

Thinking culture

The following post is the full-length version of a piece that was published in edited form inTimes Higher Education.


David Beer

In their song ‘Life’s an Ocean’, which appeared on their 1995 album A Northern Soul, The Verve sang of imagining the future and waking up with a scream because they were buying some feelings from a vending machine. I wouldn’t say that I was quite waking with a scream, but we might imagine a future in which academic practices have reached a similar state of efficiency, ordering and control. Put starkly, the day cannot be far away when there is an ‘app’ that tells us what articles to read. I’m imagining a simple application that builds up a personalized profile about the research articles we read, and that then uses that profile to predict what we are likely to want to read. Such devices are everywhere around…

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