> If you rate books on Amazon (usually books that you've bought,
> but not necessarily), or add them to your wishlist, Amazon starts
> recommending books that you might like based on those ratings
nekokami, i didn't know that, so thanks for telling me! :+)
> and I have to say they've made some excellent recommendations
> from my point of view -- stuff that I like a lot, that I would probably
> not have read (or even noticed) otherwise. This feature has come
> a long way in the last year or so.
and that doesn't surprise me in the slightest, because amazon
certainly has enough data to make collaborative-filtering work.
one problem, though, is that _they_ have your data, and you don't.
so you can't take it elsewhere, to another system, for suggestions.
of course, that's the kind of "lock-in" that every business _wants_.
it's just not in our own best interest to actually _give_ it to them...
but that's a problem we're having all over cyberspace, most notably
with google and the other search engines, and the data they have...
> I think there's value in occasionally looking at something that
> doesn't match your usual profile.
most definitely. otherwise you might end up like president bush,
only hearing what you want to hear.
and _any_ collaborative-filtering system _can_ build this feature in.
and the good ones _will_, if only because they know that it is _only_
by having a prediction disconfirmed that the system becomes smarter.
one way a disconfirmation can take place is if you don't like something
that it thought you would like. the much harder case, however, is when
you _do_ like something that it predicted that you would _not_ like, since
you're less likely to have chosen to consume the thing in the first place.
so you have to "try" some of that stuff anyway, just to _see_ if you like it.
kinda like trying food that you've never liked in the past, just to ensure
that you _still_ don't like it. the important thing to keep in mind here is
that tastes toward content are likely much less stable than tastes in food.
so yes, the system has to be built from the perspective that your tastes
might change as time goes on -- indeed, are almost certain to change;
so a good amount of "experimentation" should be programmed in...
unfortunately, no system can _force_ a person to consume something
which they would rather not, so the best it can do is make suggestions.
but notice, if you will, how the original "problem" -- that we will be
overwhelmed by so much unenjoyable garbage that we won't be able
to find the "needles in the haystack" -- has been turned on its head,
such that now we're worried that we'll be handed so many "needles"
that we don't bother to look though the "haystack" any more at all...
so if the self-published stuff really is garbage, it will be sorted out,
cleanly and efficiently, without ruining our access to the good stuff.
so the original problem wasn't any problem at all!
in fact, we will be having the _opposite_ problem!
bottom-line: we don't need publishers to be our "screens" any more.
Last edited by bowerbird; 10-31-2006 at 12:26 AM.
Reason: to correct a typo