By Michael Schrage
Where steam engines powered the industrial age, recommendation engines empower and influence our own. From music, books, and videos to foods, friendships, and careers, recommenders relentlessly personalize, customize, and transform choice. Yet this is not an entirely new idea. Yes, recommendation’s technical methodologies have radically changed, but humanity’s perennial struggle for self-knowledge and self-command has not. To understand the dynamics shaping the recommender future, there is no better way than to appreciate its rich and fabled past.