Personas: Uncanny results about your persona

Aaron Zinman, PhD student in the Social Media Group at MIT has recently published his installation for the Connections exhibit at the MIT Museum. The project entitled “Personas” delivers an insight into how the Internet sees You.

Personas uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity.

The user enters his first- and lastname to start the analysis. The machine then spiders through the web and gathers as much information as possible for the user’s name and tries to categorize the user’s appearances. Finally the application creates a bar divided in multiple parts each representing another category by a different color. The creation of this bar happens in real-time as the machine searches for information which is a nice effect.

personas_01personas_02

The most disturbing thing about Personas is the fact that with each iteration in ran my name through it, the result were different. A possible explanation for this can be read in the official description:

“Personas demonstrates the computer’s uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name”

Flickr.com already features an extensive collection of persona-profiles and new entries coming in constantly – a nice pastime if you got a lazy minute.

Already tried Personas with your name? What were your experiences with it’s accuracy (or the lack there off)?

Via InformationAesthetics

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  • Smithers

    I had the same experience as well. Not only are the results different, but they don’t appear to remotely match the characteristics of the person in question. If this is how the internet sees YOU, then the internet is either blind or an imbecile.

    • http://www.artillery.ch/ Wiederkehr

      The key-word here seems to be “You”—is “You” really defined by first- and lastname? Results become more accurate for known people and unique name combinations. So results for Usain Bold are more accurate than for those for John Doe.

  • Smithers

    I had the same experience as well. Not only are the results different, but they don’t appear to remotely match the characteristics of the person in question. If this is how the internet sees YOU, then the internet is either blind or an imbecile.

    • http://artillery.ch Benjamin Wiederkehr

      The key-word here seems to be “You”—is “You” really defined by first- and lastname? Results become more accurate for known people and unique name combinations. So results for Usain Bold are more accurate than for those for John Doe.

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  • http://twitter.com/ux4science Sven Laqua

    I ran it three times on my name and it generated three completely different profiles – so it’s really more “schein als sein”.