hanging out at the bar tonight with obert, julintip and her friends i had an interesting little idea.
<p>suppose everyone had a tiny portable electronic device on them that stored their musical preferences and had short range wireless capabilities. then, if you had a jukebox that could detect and talk to those devices, it could tailor its playlist to roughly match the musical tastes of the people in the immediate vicinity.</p> <p>i think it would be really nice. sort of an automated, telepathic dj. you could extend the idea to other places that play music: bars, clubs, even replace the muzak in elevators. i think it would be great if i stepped into an elevator alone and the barry manilow that was playing was quickly replaced with some good, heavy industrial or something.</p> <p>of course, the main problem with this idea is the chicken and egg problem. if no one has the devices, it wouldn’t make sense to have the jukeboxes around and vice versa. so i’d suggest initially putting the technology into cellphones. enough people have cellphones already and always carry them with them that it would help bootstrap the system.</p> <p>sprint (i think it’s sprint) has a service where you can hold your phone up to some music playing, dial the right number and it will tell you the artist and song that you’re listening to. if you combined this idea with a “i really like this song” and “i really don’t like this song” buttons on the phone, people could easily train it to their musical tastes. add in some data-mining like amazon uses to tell you that people who bought book X also frequently bought book Y and the system could train itself even better <em>and</em> alert you to new stuff that you might like by talking to the other devices it comes in contact with. if you’re in a room with someone who likes a lot of the same music as you, it could automatically add some of their preferences to your system.</p> <p>you could also get CD players and various home stereo equipment that talk to your device and tell it that since you listen to a particular CD a lot, you probably like that album.</p> <p>since i’m really into wearables and ubiquitous computing, i also think it would be need to add some contextual awareness. maybe if the device had a way to read your pulse/blood pressure/skin conductance/etc, it could tell what kind of mood you’re in and learn to associate particular groups of songs with particular moods. if you’re driving in your car, it could play good driving music for you; if you’re working on the computer, it could play whatever you like to listen to while you work; if you’re just chilling out and reading a book, it could play more mellow background sort of music.</p> <p>probably not feasible at the moment but as cellphones and <span class="caps">PDA</span>s get smaller, more powerful, more widespread, and with more wireless capabilities, i think it could work quite nicely.</p> <p>so if you like the idea, please desseminate it so that if in ten years, some company tries to patent the technology, there will be a lot of prior art to fight them with.</p>