Who's Up for Dinner and an Algorithm Tonight?

Komar & Melamid, "United States: Most Wanted Painting" (based on survey of 1,001 U.S. adults) 

Komar & Melamid, "United States: Most Wanted Painting" (based on survey of 1,001 U.S. adults) 

"Art is the truly human act of creating something new that matters to another person." — Seth Godin, "The Icarus Deception" 

Movies with bowling scenes rarely do well. Horror flick monsters need to attack people. Cursed superheroes blunt box office returns. 

These are a handful of the "insights" offered by Vinny Bruzzese, a movie script analyst and "the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood," in this meant-to-provoke-you article from The New York Times earlier this week. 

I suspect Vinny doesn't have half the film-industry clout that the article suggests. But there is a "Vinny mindset" that's far more dangerous—that creative projects can be programmed by applying the same kinds of analytics, including algorithms, that drive financial markets. 

Years ago, Russian artists Komar and Melamid applied this thinking to their "Most Wanted" series of paintings (see example above), which were based on scientific surveys of what people say they want most in art. 

If the image strikes you as absurd, it should. But so is the notion that you can program creativity—whether that's in the arts or business or marketing. And I don't care what Vinny thinks about that.