Algorithms that claim they know me better than my husband

Google keeps on asking me to sign in “to discover events and places picked just for “you” and to “get matched with experiences you’ll love”.

Well we all know why they want me to sign in really – which is just to collect my free data and mine more information about me. But the offer is interesting too – while these events and places might just be picked for me will they really be “experiences I’ll love”. My husband of 36 years struggles to be sure of what I’ll like or dislike – well he’s a bit better on what I won’t like – friends and family tell me I’m impossible to buy for – I do sent a lot of gifts to charity shops – but Google’s algorithms seem more sure.

I’m skeptical – Alexa never does what I ask her to – playing random Moscow and New York radio stations but mostly saying “ I don’t know that one”. She’s not able to learn.

So I think we are a long way off machine learning and google really knowing “what I’ll love” – it would be great and it is tempting to think one day a search engine could clear out all of the impossibility stupid suggestions that makes one long for a simpler world with less stuff and choices.

Brands used to have a role in this – but as they become more generic and homogeneous you know that a Four Seasons in one city or resort is unlikely to bear any connection to another and more so when you get to big names like Penisula, Marriott or even Mandarin. The Mandarin Oriental in Miami is as much like the iconic M.O in HK as margarine is to butter.

Some have tired with some success to keep consistency – The Aman group is great but still the Aman is Tokyo cannot be compared to the hotels in Bhutan. Belmond are all different but classic individual hotels. Six Senses are on a building spree and perhaps moving up market but will they loose their USP? Perhaps we’re left with the only consistent hotels being those unique and privately owned properties. The Siam in Bangkok or Hambleton Hall in the U.K.?


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