Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The GIANT Experiment

Those of us who use the Window 10 operating system must have noticed the ever-changing screen photos that Microsoft so generously gifts us, always with the question at the right-hand corner of the screen asking whether we like their new selection. 

The choice of reply is couched in the gentle affirmation (“I like it”) or gentler negation, (“Not a fan”) with the promise to change the photograph if you clicked on the latter.

I noticed that the Microsoft deities change the ones I liked almost as fast. I also noticed they bring back some I decidedly was not a fan of before, and told them so. With the exception of two photographs in the many I have given feedback to, none were really what I wanted to have on my screen. But I found myself saying I liked the ones that were not too queasy-making after a whole series of truly unpleasant photos appeared as I feverishly clicked on the Not-a-fan option. I was ready to settle for the Not-as-awful ASAP.

Granted, all the photographs are technically brilliant. All would have their fans somewhere. But I tend to dislike close-up photos of  mechanical implements (think gears, tools, and such) or icy winter shots during a cold spell. I don’t care for the photos that give me vertigo, either. I’m not a fan of the desert or any arid landscape, having come from a land that has too much of that.

I want green and lush. I want to feel nourished. Once in awhile, the Micro-deities indulge me. I click on the positive, and get to “keep” the image for a wee bit. They have yet to offer what I really love— a cozy indoor space replete with rich traditional textiles and many books. I’d stay in such a space forever.

This whole thing got me thinking about the purpose of this operation. The Micro-deities do not do things without a purpose. So, Bill—what gives?

Until someone somewhere tell us the whole story, I have concluded this is some sort of experiment where the algorithms calculate not only who likes what, but also how fast they are at telling. This would explain the returning of rejected images. Maybe they were rejected on average at 1.2 seconds before, and on second round, they are rejected faster/slower. I wouldn’t be shocked if someone at one of the Ivy-leagues is compiling the data, paying the Micro-deities a handsome sum, and devising the cleverest way to market something.

It isn’t personal, and no one has to reply to the prompts. But you know what? I’d like to know what. That is— what’s up with that?


  1. I have a Mac, so I guess I don't get these. My image is a screensaver I put on my computer. Though every once in a while it disappears and I don't know why.

  2. I'd never respond because I know they're just collecting information. I'd be speaking to a bot. Sigh.

  3. Hmmmmm. I like the term "Micro-deities" because that's what they are. I never upgraded to Windows 10 because I'm happy where I am.


  4. Seems y'all decided not to play the game. I should have done the same.

  5. I've never upgraded to Windows 10. My screensaver rotates through family photos I've taken through the years. I love having a reminder of the memories.