Chapter 10 Why Gamers are Better than Computers, Scientists, and Governments

In 2006, Netflix, the DVD rental company, offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could substantially improve “Cinematch,” the formula used by Netflix to recommend movies to its customers. Cinematch works by comparing the way that you have rated movies to the way that other Netflix customers have rated movies. When Cinematch detects a pattern, it uses that information to recommend movies you haven’t seen yet, but that people like you have rated highly. Cinematch is an important driver of revenue for Netflix, which explains why the company hoped to lure computer scientists and statisticians into improving the system’s accuracy.1 To aid these scientists, Netflix publicly ...

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