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Braes Paradox Online

The article below explains how too many options can lead to poor response when it comes to computer generated suggestions. Braes paradox is the concept that adding extra roads to a network can lead to congestion. This is due to the fact that new, more efficient roads will disrupt the equilibrium which can have a negative impact on the users of these roads. Instead of focusing on roads however, people are focusing on recommendations which are generated based on user feedback. The idea is that people have too many options which is hurting their possibility of getting the best recommendations. On Amazon, for instance users may click on tons of products out of curiosity, but decide later they may not want these products. Their Amazon account will still display recommendations based on these items they viewed which may be unrelated to what they are looking for.


Another example is with friend recommendations on Facebook. People may find recommendations that are inaccurate as their friends list increases. This is because each friend added on Facebook brings its own network of potential suggestions based on matches with other friends. As the network grows the recommendations become too much and may no longer be helpful in finding good recommendations. Having too many options is not always a good thing for this reason. While removing products on social networks seems like the solution, this does not seem like an easy task. All of the construction in Ithaca has shown me that removing access to a road does not necessarily create more efficient routes. A balance must be struck and the paths remaining must be more beneficial than the ones that existed before to have a positive impact.


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October 2015