An amusing reference spotted on Joi Ito’s blog, with the title, “Oh no! My Tivo thinks I’m gay!” I have similar sorts of problems with Amazon, in that it can’t seem to get its vast electronic brain around the combination that I (a.) have given up being a hardcore web programming geek, at least for the moment, (b.) am fascinated by graphic design, especially fairly esoteric typography, (c.) buy the novels of a few specific hard SF authors, (d.) look at a fairly wide range of history books, mostly monographs about weird things like waterwheel design, or the phlogiston theory, and (e.) buy the sort of contemporary literature that gets reviewed in the Guardian.
Don’t get me wrong – Amazon’s recommendations are at worst amusing, at best downright useful. But it strikes me that most of us are not a single person – or at least, should not be considered such for the purposes of profiling. Amazon, Tivo et al should be looking for instances where choices fail to fit the profile, and forking off a new persona rather than trying to integrate the two. Maybe they do, I don’t know – it doesn’t seem to work all that well, anyway.
Hmm. I could get rather interested in how the profiling is parameterised, come to think of it. I wonder what Amazon would make of that.