Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Where Bayesian Recommendation Systems don't Get It

I really like this article over at the Huffington Post on the mundanity of collaborative recommendations, such as last.fm, amazon, etc. (Via advertising lab.) I agree completely - yes, such services work well*, but there's also a real kick to discovering and making the choice yourself, which gets overlooked. The psychology of finding the brilliant amongst the unexpected, but also the openness of eclecticism as a personal trait. In other words, why do we like the next thing that we like? Is it all just based on what we know?

Aldorno (or maybe Baudrillard, all foreign names look the same to me) seems to like the idea that the more we kill something in our culture, the more we have to re-create it. "The lady doth protest too much." I wonder if some of that is true here - the more we construct "recommendation blankets" for ourselves, the more we want others to know what new things we've picked out ourselves. As the system tells us about ourselves, do we assert our "individualism" from the system more than ever?

* Curiously, I actually tend to ignore most "recommendations for me". I can think of 1 or 2 that I've really liked, but in general, for music at least, I prefer trawling something like FIP or Radio 6 for interesting stuff.

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