Charlie Darwin, remember him? Came up with evolution theory, and no, that’s not just an opinion. Well established theories are far more than just opinions. Evolution starts with variation; having a big enough (gene) pool to select from. Without variation evolutionary progress will eventually come to a halt.
Why’s this important. Well, because, in the spirit of The Smiths we need all software developers of the world to unite, and create the algorithm no one knows is badly needed, the algorithm that does the opposite of liking and every time you finished listening to a song teases you into listening to one diametrically opposed to it. A bit like suggesting something by Deafheaven after listening to a Barbara Streisand song (some might find Barbara Streisand Death Metal in itself, but that’s another discussion).
Of course, no one really wants such an algorithm because we all love the rabbit hole (and social belonging) quality of the current ‘people who liked this also like this’ type of algorithms. People hate surprises and would probably skip a diametrically opposed song suggestion (good name for a band by the way, The Diametrically Opposed Song Suggestions…). We don’t like suprises and we don’t like to belong to a deviant minority. Such is life. So there isn’t really a commercial argument to implement (or even develop) such an algorithm. In the end it would only significantly reduce the time people spend on platforms like Youtube or Spotify (in itself a good thing, but that’s beside the point).
So…why then even discuss Darwin’s algorithm? Because the new year just started, it’s nice to fantasise, and looking forward is always preceded by taking stock, using the past to brighten the future. Or in the words of the famous philosopher Bob Marley: “In this bright future you can’t forget your past…”. In a world where small, independent artists struggle and even Taylor Swift joined the ranks of Indie music, variation is a (not yet terminally ill) patient we have to feed and strengthen. Make Charlie Darwin proud again!