Solving difficult problems using play and collective intelligence

The Problem
This problem came apparent when trying to design a “Gift Recommendation service”. The general idea is to use a retailers API and your contacts interests (interest graphs built using LIKES, Follows, Favourites using data available via the users social networks – FB, Twitter, LinkedIn) to recommend relevant gifts (based on their interests, occasion, and strength of the relationship). This was the easy part – the difficulty came when trying to associate the contacts ‘interests’ with ‘gifts (products). One way would base it on keywords e.g. filter products using features from their description and the contacts interests (‘sport’, ‘music’, …) – I imagine this approach would have failed miserably.

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