Friday, December 31, 2010

The non-discriminating audience

Check out this patent from Apple: let's reward reviewers of products when their prediction of product success matches actual product success. This approach has a number of problems.

First, it's a well known fact that you can get any junk sold by the millions with a proper marketing campaign, e.g.: Britney Spears (with all due respect). Thus, we conclude people will do effectively as they are told.

Second, as per the item above, if many reviewers give glowing reviews of product X then it's more likely product X will succeed, so the reviewers stand to benefit. It does not matter whether product X is good as long as it sells, e.g.: Lady Gaga (with all due respect).

Third, it's yet another obvious sign that shows today's audience is non-discriminating. Rather, it's like this plant that grows towards light. Marketing is trying to shine the light the plant will grow towards the most. Again, it does not matter what plant it is, or what light it is. All that matters is that money keeps flowing.

Therefore, this patent is about maximizing the flow of money and, thus, Apple's profits because they have a toll booth position controlling access to the things being bought. It does not have anything to do with content quality.

Why can this happen to begin with? Because the audience is non-discriminating. In other words, the audience is a poor judge of quality. Or, in perhaps more direct terms, what Apple and many others do is to target an uneducated audience. Because if the audience was more educated, then we wouldn't have to think music was good because somebody else likes it. We would not even hear about Britney Spears, or Lady Gaga, or...

... well? It's not just about music, is it? How about our crappy politicians, political parties, laws, justice, health care, salaries, jobs, environment, energy efficiency, journalism, etc? How will this uneducated audience deal with today's very complex problems using their US-standard high school education? It's just not possible, and so we get what we deserve: an exploitation marketplace like that set up for teenagers.

But folks at Apple and similar places are not to blame (at least not entirely). Rather, the non-discriminating audience is to blame. Because if that same audience would stop accepting crappy stuff, then the producers of said crappy stuff would go out of business. But, oh, alas... how do you fix the non-discriminating audience when it is so convenient to so many that it remains non-discriminating...

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