Liveplasma – Review


by Chad Van Wagner

It happens to all of us. You hear an old album or movie, one you’ve heard about for years but never got around to, and you can’t believe you waited so long. Damn, that was good.

Then your brain pauses. Hmm. I wonder what else I’m missing? You don’t trust the guy at the record store, he’ll just foist some new band with swoopy haircuts on you. You don’t trust the guy at the video store, he only watches Charles Bronson movies. What to do?

Well, now there’s Liveplasma. Basically, a search engine that interprets connections between movies and music. It’s pretty simple: Type in a movie, actor, director, or band, and boom. You get a funky-looking, interconnected web/map of things that might similarly float your boat.

Like all things that attempt to have a machine simulate human thought, it comes up with some pretty bizarre connections. A search using the film Grand Hotel, a sentimental, romantic 1932 film starring Greta Garbo, inexplicably yields a recommendation for Schindler’s List. That’s kind of like recommending Ghost with Patrick Swayze because you liked Dawn of the Dead.

Did I say “inexplicably?” OK, both Grand Hotel and Schindler’s List won Oscars for Best Picture, so I guess the recommendation makes technical sense, even if it’s not exactly practical. That said, sometimes inspiration comes from random chance, so while the recommendations might be worlds apart, maybe something will hit you in the right way. If nothing else, the interface is cool.