SXSW Interactive 2014

‘Man vs. Machine’ Is Dead, Long Live Man + Machine

A human on a bicycle is the most efficient land-traveller on planet Earth. Likewise, the most efficient advanced, accurate, helpful, and enjoyable music recommendation systems combine man and machine. This dual-pronged approach puts powerful, data-driven tools in the hands of thinking, feeling experts and end users. In other words, the debate over whether human experts or machines are better at recommending music is over. The answer is “both” -- a hybrid between creative technology and creative curators. This panel will provide specific examples of this approach that are already taking place, while looking to the future to see where it’s all headed.

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  1. Which is better at recommending music: humans or algorithms?
  2. Why is neither approach enough, on its own?
  3. How does man-plus-machine-powered music recommendation really work, on a nuts-and-bolts, non-theoretical level?
  4. What does all of this do for the people who really matter here: artists and fans?
  5. As this approach takes hold, how will it affect the music industry at large?



Eliot Van Buskirk, Editor, The Echo Nest

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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