Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The big potential of Recommender Systems

Can you think of more applications for software recommender algorithms?

When you read a blog post or digital news item, it sometimes gives you a selection of related news items, designed to keep you enjoying the service on that site.  Amazon famously designed the "you may also like" marketing feature that in part contributed to making their site so useful and 'sticky'.  It's not like recommending is anything new: the other day I ordered snacks or food and the check-out staff asked if I would like a drink to go with it - human recommender :) 

Reading today about related work in progress, this time to assist doctors in caring for patients:
“I thought about how the Amazon product-recommender algorithm works and thought, `Can we do this for medical decision-making?’” said the 34-year-old Chen, a VA Medical Informatics Fellow at Stanford Health Policy.
So instead of, other people who bought this book also liked this book, how about: Other doctors who ordered this CT scan also ordered this medication.
“What if there was that kind of algorithm available to me at the point of care?” he asked. “It doesn’t tell me the right or wrong answer, but I bet this would be really informative and help me make better decisions for my patients.”
 Again, can you think of more opportunities?  In education, in training?  In hiring, in business?  In events, in design, in government?  Anything? 

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