Portable Content

Things we find along the way…

Man vs. Machine – Movie Recommendations Experiment

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Web-based movie recommendation systems, built into a large cross section of retail and movie rental sites from imdb to Amazon, can often seem the randomised offering of some particularly cross-wired coding: type in The Wire on imdb, and I’m recommended Beverly Hills Cop. Type in Welcome to the Dollhouse, and watch family-fantasy-fest Bridge to Terabithia get an additional stamp of approval. Take the robot’s word for it, and at best, a potentially lacklustre viewing, and at worst, hands-over-the-kids’-eyes-territory.

Improvements to these systems are allegedly and constantly being made, using ever more sophisticated algorithms. But how good are they compared to the wisdom of actual people?

Video Store Clerk, a simple, interactive online game, puts you in the role of that chief of the film nerds, the titular video store clerk.You are told how a real customer has rated previous movie rentals, and then you are shown another movie title that the person also rented, with the objective being to successfully suggest how that customer has rated the current movie.

The makers of Video Store Clerk are collecting all the user-generated data and comparing it to the real customers’ ratings. A computer has already played the game with millions of customers, and the success of its reportings have been recorded. The question is whether or not the wisdom of crowds can beat the computer? To gather enough data for an accurate comparison, they need a lot of people to play…

The experiment’s findings will ultimately go toward enabling the better production of movie recommendation systems everywhere…


Written by alsays

May 3, 2008 at 4:46 am

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