What is an algorithm anyway?
Algorithm is a simple concept, which nowadays has many complex expressions. Algorithms have become synonymous to something very technical and difficult to understand.
1. The algorithm is a set of very specific instructions
How to bake a cake, find the sum of two plus two or even govern the country in accordance with the Constitution are all examples of algorithms. Algorithm is a “sequence of instructions”!
Today, the algorithm is usually understood as a “sequence of instructions that are a command to the computer of what to do”.
2. People wrote and used algorithms long before computers appeared
Back in the Babylonian era, people wrote algorithms that helped them solve mathematical equations that allowed them to manage their agricultural society.
Algorithms that used computers first became known in the mid-20th century, when the military began to write formulas to determine where to point at missile on a moving object. The concept then moved to business administration, with computers working according to formulas for calculating wages and the like.
3. Today, the algorithms can be found everywhere
The algorithms can calculate anything from anything. Facebook, Google, Amazon and other major technology companies rely on algorithms to deliver content and products to their customers. But there are algorithms throughout your life that you may not be aware of.
Nowadays, algorithms are also involved in almost everything.
4. The most complex algorithms use machine learning
As we know, an algorithm usually has to be written with “incredible attention to detail” so that the computer knows what to do. However, this is not the case when people who write algorithms use machine learning, a kind of artificial intelligence that leads to the most complex algorithms.
Machine learning is a computer that opens its own algorithms instead of being told what to do.
5. Algorithms may be imperfect, but they nevertheless change our world
All these things we take for granted, such as the Internet, social networks, and most importantly automation and so on, they would not exist without algorithms. As these automated instruction sets become more and more common – from your dishwasher to government supercomputers – people are able to apply their knowledge faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Algorithms do for mental work what the industrial revolution has done for manual work. Algorithms are the automation of the intellect. And if you think about it, it is a very powerful thing: to do what previously demanded human thinking and labor, now you can do with the help of algorithms.
Algorithms are not going anywhere. But how we create them? Preconceived or justified? Useful or harmful? And how do we accept their absence unconditionally?