Technologies of Taste
Ever wondered what kind of magical juju lurks within “recommendation engines?” Anyone with a Tivo knows just how wrong it can be about your preferences, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fallen into an if-you-like-this-then-you’ll-like-that click-hole, pleasurably stumbling across stuff that you can’t believe you hadn’t heard about before. It’s like souped-up serendipity and it's very addictive.
I find this technology fascinating, not only when it’s accurate but when it’s not. Whether you view the technology as a craven marketing gimmick or as a slightly magical personality diagnostic tool, it certainly raises some questions about the nature of taste and personality, the delta between pleasure and boredom, and the possibility that fickle humans could be decoded.