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Netflix is Flexing Its AI Muscles, With The Episode Ordering Experiment For Love, Death + Robots

Netflix also says it is not mapping anything that could give a hint of a viewer’s sexual orientation.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:March 25, 2019, 9:06 AM IST
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Netflix is Flexing Its AI Muscles, With The Episode Ordering Experiment For Love, Death + Robots
Netflix also says it is not mapping anything that could give a hint of a viewer’s sexual orientation.
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All these years, you probably had been watching TV shows the conventional way. Episode one, followed by episode two, episode three and so on. But that is old school. The popular streaming service Netflix is experimenting with shuffling episode orders with its latest Series, Love, Death & Robots (also known as Love, Death + Robots). The episode order that you see could be different from the episode order offered to someone else.

Netflix has confirmed this experiment in a tweet, which says, “We've never had a show like Love, Death & Robots before so we're trying something completely new: presenting four different episode orders. The version you're shown has nothing to do with gender, ethnicity, or sexual identity — info we don't even have in the first place.” This was in response to a user who claimed that Netflix was ordering the episodes based on its understanding about your sexual orientation. Netflix has denied such claims.

Love, Death + Robots is an anthology series, a collection of animated short stories across genres such as horror, fantasy, science fiction and comedy.

It really comes as no surprise that Netflix is again flexing its artificial intelligence (AI) muscles to offer users the sort of personalization and content customization based possibly on their viewing habits. No other platform really even comes close. It was back in April 2016 when Netflix had detailed the extensive A/B testing, which basically experiments with showing different versions of the same content to different users. This customization, based on Netflix’s understanding of your viewing habits, alters the order of the shows on the Netflix platform once you log in, the recommendations for what to watch and also the artwork that you may see which each movie or show. In fact, Netflix says that customization of the artwork that accompanies TV shows and movies actually results in up to 30 percent more viewing for that title.

That did come with its share of controversy though, as it was alleged that the previews and artwork were mapping users by race, and highlighting certain characters from the show based on that. Netflix denied it at the time, saying these thumbnails were generated by AI algorithms, and never considered a user’s location or race.

This could be just the first of many experimentations with episode ordering, as Netflix tries even more unique ways to show off its technological prowess. Let’s just say, TV viewing is going to be a lot more fun.
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