Tribune. We have never been as predictable as in a few years, and this from the myriad of data that we leave in the servers of huge IT companies that gradually take control of our lives. “Autocompletion” is arguably the most basic and least harmful form of this profiling. You type a letter on Word or on WhatsApp that you start with “Dear …” and, automatically, the software offers you to complete this beginning of the sentence with “sir” rather than “friend” or “colleague”.
This is only a facilitation of use, a welcome anticipation of your actions, and ultimately nothing morally wrong. No new features are offered to you, this fairly harmless profiling only extracts statistical regularities and makes them available to you to save time.
We understand that, for an eminently commercial purpose, the Gafam (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) are intended, not to offer you what you know, practice or already own, but to suggest new ones products supposed to seduce you. How is Amazon going to offer you a new product that they hope you will acquire? The first mode of operation is based on the similarity of the products. If you liked a book by such an author, then there is a good chance that you will also appreciate other works, but of the same author or the same genre (thriller, travel guide …).
We can clearly see two limitations to this: the immensity of the catalog that this requires (should we take into account all existing books?), Then the restriction to products of one and the same category, because how to measure the similarity between Being and Nothingness, from Jean-Paul Sartre, and the latest offer of ravioli from the Buitoni brand?
And this is where Amazon and the others have shown an undeniable genius to rationally expand the offer of possibilities: it is enough to play on the faculty of imitation of consumers. If Mr. X, who loved Being and Nothingness, also liked the Buitoni ravioli, so Mr. Y, who only liked Being and Nothingness, might also enjoy Buitoni ravioli. It is therefore a question here of broadening horizons more widely by means of gregarious interposition, each consumer becoming a repository for each other.