The “Algorithm” Breeds Individualism

My Secret Notebook
2 min readJan 30, 2024

I was just watching a YouTube video about the rise of solo traveling, and it made me realize something interesting.

First, we already know that the algorithm is all about individual tastes and preferences. It figures out what you, specifically you, want. And then it feeds it to you. Your tastes can change from one week to the next, and algorithm keeps up! Sometimes it even reminds you of stuff you used to like. It knows what you might like even before you do sometimes.

And as we get accustomed to such individually catered treatment, we don’t really want anything less than that.

What’s fascinating is that this psychological impact is bleeding into the real world — our economy, our decisions, our life trajectory, etc.

Even for me, I used to be scared of traveling alone, but this year, I’ve been planning 2 vacations, and I was excited to potentially do them alone. When my friend or boyfriend were trying to tag along, I felt a sense of restriction in what I could freely do.

When we get bored of a video, we can click away immediately. When we see a video we want to watch, we can click into it immediately.

Well, now I want that with travel. If I go to a museum and want to spend another hour looking at ancient pots, I don’t want some group itinerary messing that up. I’m used to the algorithm letting me have what I want when I have it and for as long as I want it.

This isn’t necessariy the death of community, though of course America is less community-minded than other parts of the world. Rather, it’s an embrace of personal preference.

What I mean is that people aren’t going out there forcefully exerting their individualism in a harmful way. Instead, it is a harmless expression reflected in something like going on a trip on your own. Couples respecting and valuing individualism can be a healthy way of making sure everyone’s needs in a relationship are met.

And maybe it took an algorithm for us to realize that, to elevate our lives into greater individual expression, individual enjoyment, and individual realization.



My Secret Notebook

Quirky, curious, and philosophical Asian American gay Ivy League grad living in Southern California.