Recomendation systems

During this week I have done some searching of objects, Netflix watching and shopping on the web.

On Netflix, literally:”Based on your genre settings, we think you have probably seen many of this movies and shows”. They presented 48 choices of which I had seen 36 (some of them a couple of times). This is mainly based on only two shows I have been watching lately, have not watched many movies, but got into complete seasons of two shows (Weeds and Stargate Atlantis).

form Netflix: “Rate more so Netflix can get smarter about you” 48 choices, of which I had seen 18.”the more you rate, the smarter we get about your preferences”.

By now I am seeing movies and the reason why they are being shown to me “because you enjoyed…” I can see from the top, some are because of gender and some because of a specific actor.

On Amazon, I bought a crank flashlight, and subscribed to the amazon android appstore and got Angrybirds Rio. I have also put some objects into waiting list before this subject and have gotten e mails regarding some choices…This have been kind of reminders of what i have been looking at.
Although, while shopping “seriously” I have taken into account the recommendations given tome as “people who have bought this have also bought”, and has turned out quite helpful.

So I must say that this algorithms do have effect on my behavior (as a shopper and as a tv show consumer) , but it also gives me great pleasure not to obey to them, so it can it self be broadened, into suggesting more kinds of stuff that I can find useful.

The suggestions do filter a lot of content, but it is of best practice to correlate them with suggestions from reliable human sources, like syllabus from classes and recommendations from teachers and friends (which are supposed to be a reliable source, which I do believe).

Comparing options…does this mean comparing what the system is offering? Well, I have put into my personal queue some of the suggestions brought up by the systems, thing that I might not have found on my own. So yes, I do think this suggestions systems are good, they do not replace my free will of going into more exploring about the topic that I think I am interested in, but it is good to mix them with my own personal search.

Of course it is not meant to be taken as a bullet proof advice, if you want to do a little bit of more searching you dive into the reviews. But even so, they can be unreliable, once I opened an account on a web site that was called simple task…or something like that, they offered small jobs (hive kind of jobs) for which you got payed, this jobs were small and from what i saw, may of them were related into posting “good” comments about a certain site or product or service in an specific web site. From then on…I do not put my whole trust on posted recommendations.

Comparing the suggestions of Netflix and Amazon (if they can be compared), I think they are pretty good, i mean… they have suggested some interesting content that I am willing to take a look at, and since i am not a know it all, it is a good thing. since this is all moved from the inside as other human beings rate and compare and buy stuff… I am not such a narcissistic or expert on subjects as to disregard options given to me, but I feel I am not as dumb as to follow blindly and not make my own opinion on what I like.

A whole different subject is subject matters in which you are not trained, then you better seek council from various qualified opinions and choose, you always have this option, and you choose not by luck but from trial and error and deduction and outcome and logic and experience!…at least I would like to think so .

Now having received an email about the +1 on google, being a user and active voter on yelp, I think other peoples opinion do matter, and I think people do comment on the things they are into and figure they know about, which is what they like and this is totally subjective and have to be respected, and even if no automated systems existed (as it has been for a longer time), i know people do find a way to unite in common interest circles that do not have to be without intersections from other circles. Each one of us is a different being with different tastes..but we do like to move in groups to feel supported. That is why physiologically this suggestions do work, maybe as long as they are not biased and only feeding on human responses…whic can be biased as well

So the recommendations could always go wrong, as everything in life. Do this systems make it easier…I suppose so, but I think the bottom line is, that they behave just as human gossiping does, you ether decide to check it out and make your own opinion out by your self or trust it blindly. Just like politics or fashion trends…, you have a free will to decide, but sometimes you are overtaken by the “hive mind”, which is another subject that is really interesting and I am reading about.


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