Amazon suggests what you should buy; Netflix suggests what you should watch; Google suggests what you should search; Facebook suggests who you should connect with. Recommendation algorithms are everywhere, and they are based on your online behavior. These algorithms are advancing at head-spinning speeds as more and more data is being collected.

They save us time and make sure we see what interests us, but are they closing our minds to other experiences? Let’s discuss in essay format. Welcome to 365 Data Science 2019 scholarship competition!


 Essay Topic

“The illusion of choice: is the recommendation algorithm taking away your free will?”

As in any other essay competition – the title here is designed to be as ambiguous as possible as we want you to show your creative side. You need to think outside the box while staying in the confines of the topic. You can approach the topic from many different perspectives. Consider the following questions, for example:

• Is behaviour affected by what appears on our media feeds?
• If autonomy and freedom of choice are fundamental to our well-being, is the recommendation algorithm welcome?
• Is it the responsibility of the individual to broaden their searches in order to gain different perspectives or should algorithms be more diverse in their suggestions?
• Who is creating/training the algorithms and is this important?

You can even go further with ideas like:
• If you died and your consciousness was remade using your online data, how much do you think that consciousness would mimic your decision making?

Of course, you can answer some, all, or none of these. These are only guiding questions and are not intended to restrict your answers in any way. In fact, we would appreciate it if you bring novel ideas to this competition.
Be original. Be persuasive. Use an algorithm to make sure you tell us what we’d like to hear.

We’re excited to see what interesting, well-argued, and unique pieces you come up with. So, make your voice heard, have fun, and, of course, good luck.

 How To Apply


In order to be eligible for the scholarship, you need to:

  1. Be a college or high-school student
  2. Submit a 1,000 – 2,000 word essay on the essay topic set above (.doc or PDF)



Please email your essay to along with the following personal details:
• Full name
• Country of residence
• University (college)
• Area of studies

 Scholarship Rules

• All essays must be written in English
• Any essay submitted to us must be the original work of the participant
• Both undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in an accredited college or university are welcome
• The decisions of the judges are conclusive and irreversible
• Essays that fail to meet the specified requirements or are sent after the submission deadline will not be considered
• By submitting an essay, the participants grant the right to freely use their essays within an appropriate context



The deadline for submissions is April 28, 2019, 11:59PM (EST). Essays sent after the submission deadline will not be considered.



1st place – $1000
2nd place – $300
3rd place – $200

The awards will be sent via Paypal.

 Announcement Of Winners


Winners will be contacted via email and featured on our website.

The awards will be sent on the day following the announcement.

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