Put starkly, the day cannot be far away when there is an "app" that tells us what articles to read. I'm imagining a simple application that builds up a personalised profile of the research articles we read, and then uses that profile to predict what we are likely to want to read. Such devices are already informing us what music to listen to, what films to watch and what books to buy, so it can't be long before they are doing our research for us, too.
Imagine the ease of researching in a world where the research materials "find" us. Where we need only log in to see what we must read in order to complete a project. No more searching, no more wasting time reading the wrong things or looking in the wrong places, no more aimless flâneurs wandering around libraries or flicking through e-journals to see what they might find. None of this will be needed because the power of algorithms, as sociologist Scott Lash has put it, will be reshaping the academy. These algorithms will streamline, predict, make decisions for us and do work on our behalf, taking some of the agency from researchers and research processes - and making it their own.
This might sound like futurism, but the reality is that algorithms are already sorting the academy in lots of ways.
I've been quite speculative in suggesting that research articles will come to find their readers, but in many ways this is already the case with books. We need only to think of how Amazon's predictive algorithms already shape our encounters with academic books..."
Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research