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Towards novelty-driven recommender systems

We get recommendations about everything and in a pervasive way. Recommender systems act like compasses for our journey in complex conceptual spaces and we more and more rely on recommendations to ground most of our decisions. Despite their extraordinary efficiency and reliability, recommender systems are far from being flawless. They display instead serious drawbacks that might seriously reduce our open-mindedness and our capacity of experiencing diversity and possibly conflicting views. In this paper, we carefully investigate the very foundations of recommendation algorithms in order to identify the determinants of what could be the next generation of recommender systems.

We postulate that it is possible to overcome the limitations of current recommender systems, by getting inspiration from the way in which people seek for novelties and give value to new experiences. From this perspective, the notion of adjacent possible seems a relevant one to redesign recommender systems in a way that better aligns with the natural inclination of human beings towards new and pleasant experiences. We claim that this new generation of recommenders could help in overcoming the pitfalls of current technologies, namely the tendency towards a lack of diversity, polarization, the emergence of echo-chambers and misinformation.


B. Monechi, P. Gravino, V. LoretoTowards novelty-driven recommender systems, Comptes Rendus Physique 20(4) (2019) 371–379

Vittorio Loreto

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