The power of algorithms – and what they say about choice

I was watching Netflix recently and a show called blockbuster appeared on my list of recommendations. It’s a 10-episode original Netflix sitcom that shares a lot of DNA with shows like Hypermarket and Brooklyn nine-nineabout a fictional version of the latest Blockbuster video store in the United States.

The show is fine, although there is something about it that I find bordering on obscene. This is a comedy show about how the rise of streaming platforms has killed the video rental industry. It’s like watching a serial killer write taunting letters to the police, daring them to catch him.

It’s strange to see Netflix make a show that so blatantly exposes what I consider to be the flaws of the streaming model. One of the recurring themes of blockbuster is that sites like Netflix not only killed the movie rental industry, but also fundamentally transformed the relationship people have with the media they consume. Going to a specific location, asking for recommendations from knowledgeable, flesh-and-blood employees, making a choice about that evening’s entertainment, and being tied to that choice for the entire evening are all things that have been consigned to the past. nostalgic with Pogs and cassettes.

Sharon D. Cole