It’s not a new theory that digital music services will learn more about you and try to use that data to minimise your need for inputs – from The Echo Nest’s work towards a “zero-button” music player (Bulletin, 15-Jan-14) to Daniel Ek talking about the inspiration he sees Google Now providing for Spotify’s future (Bulletin, 24-Jun-13). Now we have a swanky new (to us, at least) phrase for all this: cognisant computing. Or rather “cognizant computing” if you’re American, as seen in the latest announcement from research firm Gartner. Its new study claims that “by 2017, mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day”, with those services using this data to improve what they offer. “Cognizant computing takes intelligent actions on behalf of users based on their historical data, preferences and rules,” says Gartner’s research director Sandy Shen. “It can predict user needs and complete tasks without users initiating the action or interfering with the service.” Gartner is more interested in the implications for smart homes in this particular release, but music is part of that, although Gartner thinks the biggest tech companies – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Google – may have “a head start in this market due to the relationship they already have with consumers, which provides them with a large repository of user data that they can analyze and predict”.

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