On Taste, the Danger of Recommendation Engines and Rick Rubin

On Taste, the Danger of Recommendation Engines.001

On Taste, the Danger of Recommendation Engines and Rick Rubin

I just finished reading Rick Rubin’s new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being. It’s a book as much about the philosophy of consciousness as a guide to creativity.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Rubin said barely plays any instruments and has no technical ability.

He just knows what he likes and dislikes and is decisive about it.

He just knows what he likes and doesn’t like.

He said, “”[I’m paid for] the confidence that I have in my taste, and my ability to express what I feel has proven helpful for artists.”

This got me thinking about how we develop our tastes.

Rubin’s book mentions learning from the best, but it also made me think about the danger of recommendation engines.

Recommendation engines suggest things we might like based on what we’ve liked before, or what similar people like.

But, we also develop our tastes from things we don’t like. 

Making choices about what we don’t like is part of growing up.

By only showing us things we already like, recommendation engines can keep us from growing up fully.

If we’re only exposed to things we’re expected to like, our tastes will just be the same as everyone else’s, which could be a big problem in the future.

Why do our individual tastes matter in the age of AI?

As AI starts doing more tasks, what’s left for us is to have our own point of view, or taste, in what we do. If our taste is the same as everyone else’s, then

1) Chat GPT will make it common to everyone (the great same-i-fication), and

2) we won’t be paid for it.

So, what can we do to keep and develop our own taste?

Try a bunch of different things, read a lot, ask questions, and put yourself in new situations.

The more recommendation engines suggest what we should like, the more we need to push ourselves to experience different things.

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