Ideally, algorithms driving what should be the user experience would drive each of us farther apart from one another into individualized, customized experiences, driven by our unique values, past behavior and preferences.
So, why does Amazon tend to give us all the identical “people who purchased … also bought” titles for the New York Times best seller list and Pandora tend to play popular hits instead of delving ever deeper into undiscovered tunes of the type I appear to enjoy?
It seems that popularity and mass appeal may have their finger on the scale, creating a less personalized selection.
I think this is why radio’s research-driven music playlists based on known target groups who are large enough to build a radio format around so often prove to be personal enough for the nine out of ten music fans who still choose to use radio for such long periods of time every day.
We’re personalized enough. Plus we have something else that Pandora makes no attempt to achieve.
Radio format listeners relate to their favorite artists, personalities and stations as part of a local community which validates who they are, enables to work together to make everyone’s lives better.
It’s the human touch, and maybe some day computer scientists will find a way to automate that, but I have my doubts.
There is a word for feeling like you’re relating to another real person and then discovering that you’ve been interacting with a software program: creepy.
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