Algorithms Aside: Recommendation as the Lens of Life


In this position paper, we take the experimental approach of putting algorithms aside, and reflect on what recommenders would be for people if they were not tied to technology. We look at some of the traps that current recommenders have fallen into and discuss their limitations from a human point of view. We then turn to the idea that life itself was the original recommender system. By looking at how life brings people in contact with options that suit their needs or match their preferences, we hope to shed further light on what current recommender systems could be doing better. Finally, we look at the forms that recommender systems could take in the future. By formulating our vision beyond the reach of the usual considerations, including business models, algorithms, data sets, and evaluation methodologies, we attempt to arrive at truly fresh conclusions that may inspire the next steps of the community of researchers working on RecSys.

 author = {Motajcsek, Tamas and Le Moine, Jean-Yves and Larson, Martha and Kohlsdorf, Daniel and Lommatzsch, Andreas and Tikk, Domonkos and Alonso, Omar and Cremonesi, Paolo and Demetriou, Andrew and Dobrajs, Kristaps and Garzotto, Franca and G"{o}ker, Ayc{s}e and Hopfgartner, Frank and Malagoli, Davide and Nguyen, Thuy Ngoc and Novak, Jasminko and Ricci, Francesco and Scriminaci, Mario and Tkalcic, Marko and Zacchi, Anna},
 title = {Algorithms Aside: Recommendation As The Lens Of Life},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems},
 series = {RecSys '16},
 year = {2016},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-4035-9},
 location = {Boston, Massachusetts, USA},
 pages = {215--219},
 numpages = {5},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/2959100.2959164},
 acmid = {2959164},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {machine learning, personalization, recommendation engine},
Tamas Motajcsek, Jean-Yves Le Moine, Paolo Cremonesi, Kristaps Dobrajs, Frank Hopfgartner, Franca Garzotto, Ay?e Göker, Daniel Kohlsdorf, Andrew Demetriou, Martha Larson, Andreas Lommatzsch, Davide Malagoli, Ngoc Nguyen Thuy, Jasminko Novak
RecSys 2016 - 10th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, Boston, MA, USA, 15th-19th September 2016