Algorithms determine the price of plane ticketsThe pricing of airline tickets might seem like a mystery but it’s actually an algorithm. Airline companies use a dynamic pricing algorithm that takes many factors into account, things like supply and demand and historical trends. That’s why your holiday flights will always cost an arm and a leg.
■Class discussion: What is an algorithm? Besides airline ticket prices, how do computer programs control what you buy and pay for goods or services? How do programs designed to get the highest prices for sellers compare with programs to help buyers get the lowest prices? Which type of program is more powerful? Do you accept or fear the growing power of computer programs to control you life? Why?