SXSW Interactive 2014

Are Recommendation Engines Killing Discovery?

Are recommendation engines – like Yelp, Google, and Spotify – ruining the way we experience life? "Absolutely," says Ned Lampert. The average person looks at their phone 150 times a day, and the majority of content they're looking at is filtered through a network of friends, likes, and assumptions. Life is becoming prescriptive, opinions are increasingly polarized, and curiosity is being stifled. Recommendation engines leave no room for the unexpected. Craig Key says, "absolutely not." The Web now has infinitely more data points than we did pre-Google. Not only is there more content, but there’s more data about you and me: our social graph, Netflix history (if you’re brave), our Tweets, and yes, our Spotify activity. Data is the new currency in digital experiences. While content remains king, it will be companies that can use data to sort and display that content in a meaningful way that will win. This session will explore these dueling perspectives.

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  1. What is the history of recommendation engines?
  2. How are recommendation engines killing discovery?
  3. How are recommendation engines enabling discovery?
  4. What are best practices for recommendation engine technology that best serve users (personal or from a brand perspective) the most relevant content at the right time and in the right way?
  5. What is the future of recommendation engines?


  • Ned Lampert, Senior Strategist, space150
  • Craig Key, Associate Media Director, space150


Lisa Grimm, Director of PR and Emerging Media, space150

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginning
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