“The death of Blockbuster is the death of the employee favorite shelf. With Netflix and Hulu and Amazon having rightfully eclipsed video rental stores, the recommendation is now largely accomplished by algorithm. If you didn’t agree with my taste in movies, there was definitely another employee you would agree with. There was someone for every customer to talk about movies with working at every video store in the country. Now we have Neflix’s ‘Top Picks for Erik,’ nearly always insultingly off-base. There’s some human involvement behind the scenes for these streaming services—at Netflix, 40 freelancers tag metadata, making associations between movies and TV shows that no computer can yet make on its own—but that person is so buried behind the work of 800 engineers that he or she doesn’t exist for modern consumers in any meaningful sense.”
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