Feeds

Peter Gabriel cranks his f*ck machine

Meet the website promising to defy the tyranny of choice

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The Filter's ambitions go beyond music though. At launch there's movie and web video (think cats playing piano on YouTube, not Doctor Who on iPlayer) recommendations. We're promised TV will be added soon, thought the firm's technical chiefs accept they need more background data to improve recommendations outside the music market.

'Yes, I hate Phil Collins too'

CEO David Maher-Roberts said: "For the Bayesian maths to work we're probably talking about 100-200 pieces of usage data we need to get from one song or film to another and for that recommendation to be of value. You can do it with less but it gets more susceptible to people [in the background data] with strange taste." The eventual plan is cross-media recommendations; like Scorsese movies? You'll probably want to listen to Exile on Main St..

The future-gazing Gabriel wants to see the system extended to cover areas such as events and literature. "We're seeing man and machine merging here, and I think its only just beginning," he said, pitching the potential for a personal "life jockey".

Recommendation engines are nothing new, of course. Since days of dotcom yore Amazon has spammed customers with offers based on their previous purchases. Those who of us have ever bothered to read Amazon's marketing emails might worry that their choices create a kind of feedback loop, reinforcing everyday tastes at the expense of things we've never seen or heard the like of before. The Filter has adopted parallel strategies to nix such onanistic concerns.

One of the user-adjustable filters tweaks how surprised you want to be by the site's recommendations. A second feature, still in development, is currently referred to as the "fuck machine". It allows more adventurous users to effectively mate their tastes to that of a friend, band, magazine or anyone else with an account. The resulting bastard offspring profile will then be pushed through the Bayesian algorithm to build a new probability network.

Development of the Filter's algorithm was initiated and is led by telecoms industry veteran Martin Hopkins, who founded Tertio and flogged it in 1999. The brains behind the algorithm are proud of how they catered for entertainment junkies' tendency to go through phases. They've made a series of tweaks to their algorithm over the last three years designed to help it to "forget".

The idea is that your pretentious Italian cinema phase, or momentary obsession with obscure Japanese noise rock won't end up poisoning the Filter's well of recommendations forever. Amazon remains convinced El Reg ought to be buying Java textbooks, despite the fact we ran away from code more than three years ago and have made plenty of other purchases since.

Not that Amazon cares while it's printing money by selling actual things. Plans to make actual money from The Filter will sound depressingly familiar to anyone who's watched the $1bn+ venture capital that web 2.0 marketing has attracted to the current generation of online start-ups. There'll be targeted advertising and efforts to white-label the algorithm.

Gabriel said: "The technology is something that I want in my life. And I like to gamble." ®

Update

Shortly after this article was published, The Filter went for a little lie down. At 1.33pm it's promising to be back soon.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?