Algorithm saves you from yourself

There's a new digital gatekeeper holding your hand and saving your reputation

It’s funny to think that we were impressed when filters could make our photos look cooler. Or that Spotify could suggest other artists based on our taste in music. Clever and entertaining, but not really significant. An algorithm that stops you from ruining your reputation, now that’s a completely different story.

A former Facebook bigshot has now started his own firm called Barrier. Trevor Scott saw his opportunity as numerous Facebook users ended up being fired or sued based on what they sent into cyberspace. Scott created the sophisticated machine learning algorithm to build a comprehensive model of a user’s personality and typical posting style across the textual and visual realms. As soon as you draft something that does not fit your style, Barrier will flag it and question if you really want to hit ‘publish’ or ‘send’.

The algorithm has even stood its ground in court – a Californian politician who was using the premium service of the app, sued Barrier after he was taken to the cleaners for defamation by his rival. Scott and his team however showed that Barrier was not in the wrong, as the app had warned the politician, but he continued with his post nonetheless. Needless to say, Barrier won the case.

Kendra Oh, editor of the online tech magazine Connect, told us that it’s a simply brilliant idea. According to Oh, many people – including celebrities and influencers – lack the foresight and emotional intelligence that are needed to manage a digital life successfully. “If only I had been the one to come up with this idea (laughs)… Scott’s going to be an extremely rich guy very, very soon,” she said.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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