1/ Do you know about The Algorithmic Trap?

It's one of my favorite ideas.

"Algorithms are great at giving you something you like, but terrible at giving you something you love."

Let me explain...

2/ In the internet age, feedback loops move quickly between the real world, Instagram and back again.

For example, once-hidden restaurants, such as those featured on Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown," are now well-known and commercialized.

3/ Algorithms drive a commercial loop:

1. Authentic travel experiences are too expensive.

2. As they gain popularity, they become standardized + mass-produced.

3. Experiences lose their authenticity.

4. Artisans arrive with new authentic alternatives.

Repeat cycle forever.

4/ Call me old-fashioned, but the more I travel, the less I depend on algorithms. In a world obsessed with efficiency, I find myself *adding friction* to my travel experience.

I’ve shifted away from digital recommendations, and towards human ones.

5/ We over-rate the importance of visiting the best-places and under-rate the importance of connecting with the best people.

If you want to learn about a culture, nothing beats personalized time with a passionate local who can share the magic of their culture with you.

6/ Travel  —  when done right  —  is challenging.

Like all face-to-face interaction, it’s inefficient. You won't find the best travel experiences in a guidebook.

At the end of the day, the great pleasures of travel are precisely what you can’t find on Yelp.

7/ Algorithms are great at giving you something you like but terrible at giving you something you love.

By promoting familiarity, algorithms punish culture.

8/ Follow humans, not algorithms.

I have a theory: Human interaction is its own kind of biological algorithm. The people we connect with mirror our tastes, and interests.

Build enough camaraderie, and the locals you meet will recommend peculiar, off-the-beaten-path experiences.

9/ Ultimately, my philosophy of travel boils down to this: When possible, avoid algorithms. Meet passionate locals who can communicate their passions well.

Then, follow their lead.

If you find yourself saying “that’s weird” then you know you’re in the right place.

10/ Once you see "The Algorithmic Trap," you can't un-see it.

And if you're interested, you can learn more about "The Algorithmic Trap" here.


You can follow @david_perell.


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