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They've had to install automatic toilets in public restrooms because people can't be entrusted to flush — they can't even flush a toilet! - Boris Yellnikoff in Whatever Works by Woody Allen


I don't know what I think... hang on, let me ask my GPS what I think about this.


But it makes those recommendations based on data by thousands, if not millions, of other humans giving their opinions. That paragraph is just absurd. Sure, Netflix relies on algorithms to pull that data together and spew that information (same as Amazon), but things like GPS are really completely reliant upon the input of the individual who owns them. You decide where you want to go and how you want to get there. I many ways, GPS gives you more options than a traditional map that simply cannot fit all of the roads on it.

I simply don't understand how the people who write these anti-technology rants expect the world to really work with any sort of efficiency. Increased efficiency allows us to have more time to explore new things and specialize with new knowledge. It's a very good thing.

Chris O.

I would love to never read another one of these "this advancement is actually ruining society" articles. Seriously, is there no end to them? How much do you want to bet people had similar thoughts about the printing press?


I'm of the opinion that a good percentage of the population of this country quit using a lot of their brain power a long time ago. But I wouldn't say technology is the culprit.

That's just my opinion and I have no data to back it up, although I could cite a few hundred examples if I needed to. But I don't think I do.


If the author is staggered by Pandora creating playlists of music for you, keep him away from an AM/FM radio! OMG! There are THOUSANDS of these radio stations telling us what to song to listen to and making these decisions for us!

Oh, and neither Amazon nor Netflix automatically send you products; You still need to "weigh the pros and cons of a situation, then make a rational decision based on the information at hand" (quote from his lede).


My 9 year old daughter made the same point just the other day. Wondering if we would become like the people in wall-e. Interesting that even a child sees the parrallels. Between our society and the movie .


OMG.... the machines are taking over. Its only a matter of time before they turn us into a battery. Death to Skynet!!!!


Yes, a 9-year-old child could probably write an article just as good, if not better. No argument there.

For reasoned argument that actually looks at the facts of how the technology in question works, and how we as humans interact with it...well, for that, we probably need to look elsewhere. The people of Wall-E -- which, let's remember, was still just a cartoon -- were sedentary and bored with life, not just getting recommendations on what movies they *might* like based on what they've watched in the past, and what other people have suggested.

Honestly, if movie recommendations or GPS units are the first step towards the human race collapsing upon itself, then it's an even more slippery slope than anyone ever imagined.


Well I for one welcome our new computer overlords.


The alternative to Pandora and Netflix and Amazon making suggestions for us is that we would have to do the research ourselves. instead, we're using the wisdom that can be gleaned from machines sifting through all of the myriad choices that are available.

Pandora for me means music discovery. I would never find all of this wonderful music by myself.

Same for Netflix. I would never be able to find such a wide array of entertainment geared to my personal preferences.

Maybe I'm wrong -- maybe I could discover all of the music and movies and products on my own without computer help -- but these tools help me and make it easier.

The author of the article is welcome to give up Netflix and Amazon and GPS is he or she wants.


Meanwhile, corrupt politicians make decisions for us ur, rather their corporate owners, that have a huge effect on our lives. But let's worry about Netflix recommending movies we are free to watch or not watch


I welcome the recommendations by Netflix and Amazon. These recommendations don't force you to do anything, they just give you ideas that you may not have considered or had forgotten about. I don't see what the big deal is. If you don't like the recommendations, ignore them.


I don't agree that computers are making "too many decisions". However, I think it's kind of funny how there are so many GPS units out there. I mean, how many times a year does the average person drive somewhere that they haven't been before and need directions to? Is it really enough to have a dashboard-mounted device to guide you there? (...and, cue rationalizations by people who love their GPS).


They suggest and I end up trying to weed the crap off my pages. They really have no clue how to aim at a persons interests. I hate chick flicks but I love Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment and the like. Why? Because the actors and the writing take it out of the routine crap genre. None of them can understand that. If you like Steel Magnolias then you must like "Suzy and Betty's big realization day" Not quite. One has to be very stupid to like what they throw at you under "you will love this" Yes I would if I didn't have a brain.


They should outlaw "word of mouth" -- imagine my friends actually telling me about good movies, and SUGGESTING that I might like them! Why, I might start telling them about movies that I liked, and then we'd ALL be lazy!

Bob Emmerich

I think the person who wrote the article and had it distributed on the WWW should delete it, hand write a thousand copies, walk to the post office to buy stamps and envelopes, stamp and stuff the envelopes, hand address the envelopes, and mail us each a copy. No wait, he should actually ride his wild stallion to each of our homes and hand deliver it. Post office, what in fat-slothiness was I thinking!?!?!


Most of the suggestions are pretty far off for me so I just ignore them.


When we give high-impact decisions to computers, we have gone too far. For example, there are cautionary tales from the golem story (It! starring Roddy McDowall), Frankenstein, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Fail-Safe, and the Terminator franchise.

But when we use technology as a tool to help us make decisions, such as using input from the Netflix predictions of how much we would like certain titles, but we still make our own decisions, I think it is totally appropriate use of technology.

There has been a case of someone putting too much reliance on a computer-generated route, which lead to a lawsuit. However, if tools like Google Maps and GPS navigation units are looked upon as tools instead of decision makers, they can help. For example, I am no longer anxious in getting to various destinations where I hadn't been before if my GPS navigation unit has it on its maps, but I don't blindly follow it to drive the wrong way down the divided road to my residence, nor do I ignore detour signs, both situations I routinely run into around town.

I think it is ok to make use of the tools we have, even high-tech tools and tools that help with our decision-making process, but we must also keep in mind the limitations of our tools and remember that, just as we are flawed, our tools also can contain flaws. (That is why we should never build a SkyNet or a Colossus without an Off switch.)


I usually just use instantwatcher and look for stuff that sounds interesting that's new, or come here to see new relevant titles on DVD each week.

Pandora's cool but people are better help at finding good music.

I still do my dishes by hand and I don't use a microwave, but technology is nice for some things.


As someone who never pays any attention to Netflix or Amazon recommendations, and whose 10-year-old Honda Civic has never heard of GPS, I guess all I can say is: what's the problem?

I am sad about the self-parking thing, though. Watching people screw up parallel parking is one of my favorite forms of entertainment.


i like to have a variety of information so I can make an informed decision. on amazon if a product has a large amount of reviews that helps me make an educated purchase. i dont see how this can be construed as making a decision for me.

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