cognitive perception

The Importance of AI in Selective Perception

January 12, 2021


Tobias Baer draws attention to the danger of selective perception becoming the norm as the use of AI in online information and marketing limits the amount of information delivered. 

There is a famous psychological experiment where participants intently watch a basketball game – but when asked afterwards about the gorilla that had danced around amidst the players, nobody has seen it. It’s the literal textbook example of selective perception – in this experiment, participants were tasked with counting the number of passes between the players and as they focused all their attention on the ball, their minds completely disregarded everything else going on on the court.

If you think of selective perception as a curtain that is partially drawn on our minds, thus narrowing our window into the world, AI is pulling more curtains from every side, leaving only a dwindling beam of light. If we don’t actively manage this and make sure we get enough exposure to mental sunlight, we risk making increasingly poor decisions and falling prey to manipulation by marketers. In the following, I will quickly describe how selective perception affects our beliefs and actions before reviewing some of the recent innovations in how AI is used that worry me for what they could do to our perception.

Our own selective perception is technically necessary but also a key way how our personality manifests itself. You all will have met anxious people who seem to always only see the risks of a proposal, or helpless optimists who seem to be blissfully blind to any risks or downsides.


Key points include:

  • Facebook’s acquisition of Kustomer
  • GPT-3, a language prediction model
  • Side-tracked cognitive processes


Read the full article, How AI closes the curtain on human perception, on LinkedIn.