Friday, January 11, 2019

Algorithm in Our Entertainment Services

We've all heard of the AI that helps Amazon hire new employees (there are also rumors that AIs are also helping companies fire some people as well - but that's an entirely different topic). Similar technologies are being used by streaming services that help suggests content to us based on our history with the service - and it's getting pretty good at it.

This was made evident to me the first time I used Spotify. At first, none of the songs on it appealed to me. After a while of searching/listening and using the app - most of the songs that are now shown to me are things that I like even though I have never heard them before.

I'm both like and hate this.

On the positive side, it's nice to be exposed to things that you're more likely to enjoy right away. You don't have to spend as much time looking for the things you like as you would of needed 10 years ago in a physical store.

On the negative side of things, what does this mean as far as data goes? What, exactly, are they keeping track of when I use their services? Would a service, such as Spotify, think of me as an aggressive person because I listen to a lot of aggressive type of music? Would a service, such as Netflix, think of me as a murderer because I watch a lot of murder mysteries?
In an age where people think that video games leads to violence - I think we need to ask these questions. It is not that crazy to think that law enforcement could use these online habits in court to determine the type of person you are. Suddenly, that aggressive music you like is being used against you in-front of a jury that knows nothing else about you than what they are being told.

You are innocent until proven guilty, yes, but what if you're innocent but your entertainment history paints a different picture of you?

What are your thoughts?

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