Algorithms and online shopping演算法對網購體驗的影響

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網上購物即方便又快捷,但在 「大數據殺熟」 的時代,你能確定是自己而不是演算法在引導你的選擇嗎?算法有何利弊?它是否會影響消費者看到的廣告?聽 「隨身英語」 節目探討算法和網購之間的聯繫。

詞彙: online shopping 網購

For many of us, online shopping has made the process of purchasing goods a far simpler and more fluid process. No longer do we have to head to the shops to browse and peruse various objects, wandering round endless aisles, before finally settling for the first thing we saw. These days, we find the item we want or need online, click on it, and check out its description and user reviews. If it fits the bill, we send it to our basket and pay. There seems to be a wealth of options at our fingertips. But how do we know the options that pop up in front of us really are the best deals. And how might algorithms help or hinder us?

Algorithms, simply put, are mathematical instructions which tell the computer how to solve problems. When shopping is involved, what is the problem they solve? Well, the algorithms instruct the computer which adverts to show and which products a user is most likely to splash the cash on. By analysing things we’ve previously bought or looked at, the algorithm can predict what goods we’re most likely to be enticed by. For some people, the idea of something guessing your preferences could sound a bit intimidating. But first, let’s look at the positives.

Time is an important thing – something we don’t want to waste too much of. By telling the computer to show us adverts for things we are interested in, it can save us a lot of time sifting through things or services that don’t match our criteria. They can also help us find the best deals.

However, there are some people who have concerns about the impact of algorithms on our shopping experience. It is possible that algorithms may only select options from a limited number of brands, or may favour products from certain companies. There are also concerns that we aren’t always shown the cheapest or best deal, even though that’s what we’re searching for. Finally, some algorithms generate ads which tell you there are only a limited number of items you’re interested in left. They might just be there to manipulate you.

So, the takeaway from this is that algorithms are here to stay, and it’s wise to know they exist. Whenever you’re shopping, be it online or off, make sure to shop around for the best deals. The first thing you see might not always be the best for you.

詞彙表

fluid 流暢的
head to 前往(某地)
browse 隨便看看、瀏覽
peruse 瀏覽
wander round 逛來逛去
aisle (商場、超市貨架間的)走道
settle for 無奈選擇,只好接受
click on 用鼠標點擊
description (商品)描述
user review 用戶評價
fit the bill 符合要求
basket (網購結賬前商品所在的)購物籃
a wealth of options 選擇眾多
at one’s fingertips 觸手可及
pop up 突然出現
algorithm 算法
hinder 阻礙
advert 廣告
splash the cash 花大筆錢,揮霍
goods 商品
entice 引誘,吸引
sift through 篩選
brand 品牌
shop around 貨比三家

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. In online shopping, where do we send our items before we pay?

2. What are algorithms?

3. How does an algorithm predict what you might buy?

4. How can algorithms help us save time?

5. What sort of algorithm-generated ads may try to manipulate you?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. I don’t want to have to _______ endless receipts looking for the right one.

sift through              pop up                         deal                       basket

2. Are you trying to _______ me with that low price?

aisles                       entice                          hinder                    click on

3. I don’t want to buy anything. I’m just _______.

entice                      basket                         browsing                 pop up

4. You’re not helping at all. Are you trying to _______ me?

entice                      description                  sift through              hinder

5. I have been walking round these _______ looking for something for hours.

hinder                     click on                        description               aisles

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. In online shopping, where do we send our items before we pay?
We send items to the basket before paying.

2. What are algorithms?
Mathematical instructions which tell a computer how to solve a problem.

3. How does an algorithm predict what you might buy?
By analysing what you’ve previously looked at.

4. How can algorithms help us save time?
By showing us the best deals.

5. What sort of algorithm-generated ads may try to manipulate you?
The ones that show us there are limited numbers left.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. I don’t want to have to sift through endless receipts looking for the right one.

2. Are you trying to entice me with that low price?

3. I don’t want to buy anything. I’m just browsing.

4. You’re not helping at all. Are you trying to hinder me?

5. I have been walking round these aisles looking for something for hours.