After years of algorithms filtering our digital lives, tech’s big players are now creating online experiences with a human touch.

“Humans are tech’s next big thing,” declared Wired in a June 2015 headline. After years of algorithms filtering our digital lives, tech’s big players are taking cues from traditional newsrooms, hiring specialized editors and curators to create online experiences with a human touch.


The trend is gaining momentum in music streaming, with Apple Music and Google Play relying heavily on experienced DJs, artists and superfans to create playlists for any mood. “What I’m most excited about is having people feel like they’re paying to make their workouts and commute better,” said Elias Roman of Google Play Music in Time. “The value prop is around lifestyle enhancement.” Human curators offer the nuance and judgment that algorithms still can’t quite replicate.

Tech companies are also hiring dedicated curators for their burgeoning news platforms. Apple, for instance, is looking for editors to help shape its news coverage, posting job descriptions that Wired characterized as “strangely familiar to those of us who work in traditional newsrooms.” And much buzz has been made of Snapchat snapping up CNN political correspondent Peter Hamby for its news offering, right ahead of election season.

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Meanwhile, Facebook is reportedly developing a mobile personal assistant called Moneypenny. The service, delivered through the Messenger app, will “[allow] users to ask real people for help researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks,” according to tech news site The Information.

In the midst of a huge push toward automation, companies are finding that some services work best with a mix of both data and human creativity. As a writer for Wired noted, “People, it turns out, might be the best at capturing the attention of fellow members of the species.”

Image source: The Verge