Posted by admin on 2009 May 7

The future of Radio

I found this interesting prediction in this blog article written by Bob Lefsetz:

But I will tell you this, if there’s a future for radio, it will not be the Pandora/LastFM model, it will be tracks handpicked by humans, like RadioIO.

The funny thing is, that traditional radio (which is basically obsolete) is still programmed by humans.. its tracks are still being handpicked by carbon-based homo-sapiens.
Having made a living out of programming / building and making music using computers, i can state that human programmed radio is doomed to failure.. here are a few reasons why:

1-Humans have ilogical biases against certain artists, biases that have nothing to do with music, a radio programmer may not like a certain artist just because he / she doesn’t like the artists’ haircut, etc.
We humans are far from being objective.
Computers can be programmed to be unbiased and to customize the music being played according to the users’ taste, not to its own set of ilogical set of likes or dislikes.

2-Humans can be bribed and biased by external forces. We all have heard of the payola scandals.
Computers cannot be bribed. Computers are cold, logical and do what they are told, and if they are programmed correctly, they can be as good as any radio programmer in the planet.

3-Computers can perform computations and correlations that are far beyond what ANY human radio programmer can do.
A computer for example can correlate your musical taste to someone who has similar musical taste and happens to live across the planet and it can share with you the music that person listens to..
This can lead to musical discoveries that are far beyond what any human radio programmer could ever attempt.

4-Humans are slow and inefficient. A computer can be programmed to sift through thousands of tracks of new music and select music that matches YOUR taste. A radio programmer is basically always playing stuff HE / SHE likes or what he is being paid to play.

5-The argument that computers are inferior to humans doing task X, is decades old, and every time, as time goes by and computer technology advances, they come ahead of the game in every specialized task: Playing Chess, trading stocks, controlling traffic.

To see what the future holds for humanity and computers, check out Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Intelligent Machines book.


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