Simon Hopkins posted an interesting article on the Open Innovation Metadata site essentially about humans versus algorithms to aid in the selection of music and other cultural cache.
Back in the pre-digital age, people often relied on published reviews and art or music critics to help guide their listening or viewing consumption. Enter Amazon, and suddely in addition to user recommendations there is a great deal of data – manipulated and filtered via algorithm – to aid in selection and ensure a pleasing fit.
While sites like Amazon and Netflix certainly can hit far off the mark occassionally displaying recommendations for BBQ cookbooks for diehard vegetarians, the math employed to tabulate user preferences is solid and without the ego of a cool-seeking music critic.
It all comes down to the metadata.