Mary Rose Cook

The icon

For me, every idea and dream and activity has a tableau associated with it. Like, when I think of making music with my band, I think the records I’ve already made. Or, when I think of having children, I think of lying in bed with my baby and my baby.

When I think of the central idea of the perceptron, I think of a giant web of connections between artists and the tendrils of recommendation spidering out from Des Ark to other bands I love.

However, these are idealisations and simplifications. More accurate versions would be simultaneously rushing my daughter to school and wiping her runny nose, sitting on a chair in my bedroom fiddling around on my guitar, a mess of pre-calculation and map-reading and planned routes.

Which is to say, things are beautiful and theoretical in the mind and then get ugly and practical.

So, in order to calculate recommendations in reasonable time, the perceptron does a few things. Every link between artists has a grade. Fine. But it has to be precalculated. In most cases, spidering does not go past direct links from the starting point. That tenuous, five-leap link between two bands that turns out to be brilliant: bullshit.

However, sometimes, that practicality can bring beauty. The moment of hitting upon a beautiful new melody. Your daughter saying, “I love you, Mummy”, as she gets out of the car. Exploring indirect links that go via artists that the user has said they like and getting recommended Converge from Des Ark.

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