September 3, 2009

Things I spend too much time thinking about

I am overly fascinated by how websites come up with recommendations/suggestions. Today, as I do many days, I was looking at my Amazon recommendations. I've added 2 books that I heard about on The Daily Show. 2. I figured out that Amazon keeps recommending books that have authors interviewed by Jon Stewart. It's like my 6 degrees of separation. I take the title and "recommended because you. . . " and try to figure out how the algorithm connected the 2. Clearly, I have too much time on my hands, post-surgery. This is most fun with movies. Oh, these have the same director or one actor. Most fascinating is people who like this also like this. It's disturbingly accurate. Possibly magic. When facebook does this, it moves to creepy. Mostly because I really do know those people or at least know who they are.



Joel said...

Yeah, see, Amazon always suggests to me either really obvious things that I've looked at before, or books apparently chosen at random. I've never quite understood the connection, but perhaps the algorithm is designed for those cleverer

Christopher Krycho said...

I myself have wondered much the same. Amazon confuses me.

One of my favorites was the time I looked up a bunch of books attacking a particular heresy... and promptly started getting nothing but heresy on my recommendation list. Not just that heresy -- any heresy.