Tag Archives: algorithms

girls laughing

AI and Humor

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I can’t decide if this is a triumph for analytics and algorithms or if it is one of those gaps that is ripe for human attention.

Arjun Chandrasekaran from Virginia Tech and pals say they’ve trained a machine-learning algorithm to recognize humorous scenes and even to create them. They say their machine can accurately predict when a scene is funny and when it is not, even though it knows nothing of the social context of what it is seeing.

Productive Friction Algorithms

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Joe Brown at Wired magazine laments on a subject that I have often thought about.

In pathetic midthirties-guy fashion, I try to stay relevant. I subscribe to Spotify’s curated new-music playlists and delve into the app’s Discover tab. When I find something I like, I add it to a playlist. But here’s the problem: Even though I like a song when I add it, I’m soon tired of every track in that queue. Is modern music that bad? Is it just me? I wonder what a neuroscientist would say …

a thumbs up from facebook like

Human Curation Improves Big Data Algorithms

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There is a new trend that is putting the human back into the picture. Smart organizations have come to realize that as powerful as algorithms are, people are just too complicated and diverse to be modeled with math alone. They acknowledge the incredible value that human insight (the third type of thinking I teased here) can add to even the most sophisticated algorithm when it comes to understanding and predicting what a user might be interested in. If I ask an algorithm to find songs that have Jack Kerouac lyrics and Sex Pistols music, I will have to wait about 20 years for it to figure something out. But a 1970s style DJ could do it in a heartbeat.

Users are obviously the best judge of what they want to see, but we’re also notoriously reluctant to spend time and effort curating—take a look at the Google+ Circles experiment, for example. Facebook is likely hoping these changes help strike the right balance between control and convenience.

a visualization of a social network

The Perils of Collaborative Filtering Algorithms

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Because of the many wonderful years I spent living in Florida, many of my close friends are there. Which means many of my Facebook and LinkedIn contacts are there as well. As many of you probably know, when social networks are choosing which ads to show me, they depend on this network of contacts to gain some insight into what I might be interested in. There are as many strategies for these collaborative filtering algorithms as there are ad networks