Logo of the Museum of Vestigial Desire
The Museum of Vestigial Desire


tags: churning published on:

How do preferences get stated?

Do they have to be explicitly selected, can they be guessed or deduced from a set of choices?

Contrary to popular belief, preferences are not known even by actors themselves. Self-awareness is expecting too much and offering too little. Self-awareness in the context of the personality that you identify with has no deep significance. It is the flavour of your mouth, the colour of your shirt. Reading more into it is certainly an act of desperation.

Two kinds of people are interested in understanding the preference of people. One is those who want to cash it by making it easier for them to find paying customers and the other are the people who want to claim that they know the contours of society. All the functions of power are enacted by people who use the knowledge that these two groups produce.

We have examined the documentation of this knowledge and we have come to the conclusion that all of this is fabricated.

Why do we base our accusation of fabrication on?

We have observed that claims to know the preferences of people are generally based on statistical analytics. We have observed that statistical analytics has a bias for trends and patterns and is not the same as putting your ear to the ground or the same as placing the said finger on the pulse.

Both these methods of understanding the public mind - one methodical and other cultural - are not the same. The methodical way prefers to capture a sentiment rather than deal with details whereas the cultural way acknowledges the gathering of messages and information that is not clear and distinct like statistics but rather is a noisy and sensory. The noisiness of this sensory data reflects an inclusion of many contrary perspectives. If we go back to our model at hand, then we can say that the cultural method acknowledges more contrary, deviant and marginal preferences of people than the statistical method.

The preference of people is mysterious. It is neither easily known or accessed. It is not a trivial piece of information which can be clubbed along with demographic data of different types.

Preference is secretive.

Because of this mysterious and secretive nature of preferential information, democracy in all its forms is merely an unfulfilled gesture.

We talk about preference in the context of play because of the onset of narrative systems in games that are based on machine-learning. This has brought the bias of statistical analytics to our personal experience and environment. Machines can only learn about preferences from statistical data because that is the only way we know of.

Accommodating more noise from the behaviour of actors will make fuzzy knowledge possible. An ambiguous model of preference which is more inclusive can lead to sentient stories that can respond to forms of engagement in different ways.

What we are looking for is a kind of response that goes beyond database-powered-variation and gives us a position in narrative which is represented by more than the index of the statistical array.

‹ index