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Have Algorithms Destroyed Personal Taste?

By Racked

No one is original anymore, not even youRead full story

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  • Sumeet Shah
    Sumeet ShahBacking brands at Swiftarc Ventures

    One of my favorite journalists, @chaykak, put together a great piece in Racked about where Amazon's algorithmic-based play into fashion (with the Echo Look) is going and if we really should have entire faith on it for our, well, personal style.

  • emily brisso
    emily brisso

    In the Fall of 2012, some friends and I were getting ready for a night out and turned to YouTube for some background music. We enabled autoplay and trusted the platform to take it from there. A song came on that none of us had heard before, and while it was uptempo, like the previous tracks, the new song stood out. It was by an English band called Clean Bandit, who at the time, were relatively unknown. We all immediately loved the track and it went on to become an anthem of sorts for our group. Cut

    In the Fall of 2012, some friends and I were getting ready for a night out and turned to YouTube for some background music. We enabled autoplay and trusted the platform to take it from there. A song came on that none of us had heard before, and while it was uptempo, like the previous tracks, the new song stood out. It was by an English band called Clean Bandit, who at the time, were relatively unknown. We all immediately loved the track and it went on to become an anthem of sorts for our group. Cut to six years later, and my friends and I have seen Clean Bandit in concert four times and have played their songs throughout countless road trips, workout sessions and parties. My main thought is that, as a consumer, the 'how' isn't really important, it's the 'what,' that really matters. If an algorithm and a group of engineers put something in front of me that I think is cool, does it really matter that I didn't find it organically? I'm not sure that it does.   

  • This is a great read by Kyle Chayka about algorithms and how they’ve affected style. These algorithms are merely suggestions and even with enhanced capabilities to get to know you better, it’s still your choice whether you’ll follow it or not. Does it make you less authentic? No, because those suggestions are based off your preferences anyway. Why fight the system that’s trying to help you discover yourself?

    Though yes, you can argue that algorithms are destroying and trying to dictate your personal

    This is a great read by Kyle Chayka about algorithms and how they’ve affected style. These algorithms are merely suggestions and even with enhanced capabilities to get to know you better, it’s still your choice whether you’ll follow it or not. Does it make you less authentic? No, because those suggestions are based off your preferences anyway. Why fight the system that’s trying to help you discover yourself?

    Though yes, you can argue that algorithms are destroying and trying to dictate your personal style or they are there to cultivate it and provide you with more inspiration. It’s really how you want to see it. I like going through the recommended songs below my personally curated playlist but that doesn’t mean I sync everything in. Collect the information, then select from it. It’s essentially a curated list that you can happily choose from - curating further to suit you better.

    We live in a consumer-driven world, so for brands to make a buck they need to design these algorithms to entice you further. It may seem cunning, but if brands want to get ahead they need to know or have an idea of what users want before they want it. Brands have become the curators and users are there to enjoy and indulge what they have to offer.. if they let it.

  • Personal taste has not been replaced entirely by algorithms unless we solely rely on those algorithms. As long as we stubbornly retain some childhood nostalgias, for example, or take trusted recommendations from friends, we do not wholly submit to the manufactured digital culture of suggestion. I like certain songs that Spotify suggests because I may not have come across them otherwise. But there are plenty that I reject as “not my taste.” If I were mindlessly consuming what algorithms fed me, I

    Personal taste has not been replaced entirely by algorithms unless we solely rely on those algorithms. As long as we stubbornly retain some childhood nostalgias, for example, or take trusted recommendations from friends, we do not wholly submit to the manufactured digital culture of suggestion. I like certain songs that Spotify suggests because I may not have come across them otherwise. But there are plenty that I reject as “not my taste.” If I were mindlessly consuming what algorithms fed me, I would listen to all suggested music because that’s what they told me I would like. While our tastes may be shaped by what is presented to us, we obviously maintain veto power and continue to curate our lives with a discretion that precedes and holds more sway than digital suggestion.

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