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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Movie Recommendation Technology

A piece I wrote last year for the site FilmInFocus is now available; it deals with using software to try to predict what movies we'll enjoy.

From the piece:

    One problem that the technology hasn't yet begun to deal with is our changing moods. "You might enjoy one movie when you're alone and feeling down, but things are different when you're going to be with a bunch of people," [University of Minnesota professor Joe] Konstan says. There's no way yet to tell Blockbuster that you're feeling burnt out on a Friday night and need some light entertainment, or that you owe your girlfriend a "date night" movie, or that you're in a documentary frame-of-mind.

    Another issue is that none of the sites you visit share information about your tastes with anyone else. "Blockbuster thinks about the ratings you've given it as their information," explains Toffer Winslow, an executive at ChoiceStream, the software company that supplies Blockbuster with recommendation technology. He says that users may feel like their privacy has been compromised if information they've given to one site is used by another to serve up more personalized content.

Among the companies I mention are Netflix, ChoiceStream, Matchmine, and Amazon.

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