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Saturday, August 22, 2009

What do you look like?

Sure, you know your face in a mirror. But what do you look like to the internet?

Let's be honest - you've probably Googled yourself to see what comes up. Who hasn't? Well, now MIT has come out with an online program called "Personas" which artistically "uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity." Simply put, it shows you how the internet sees you.

The developers explain exactly what it does:
"Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person - to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile."

What's interesting to me is that it keeps changing. Here are three of me I did in a row, for example:


It picked up my experience as a camp director for the American Go Association's Go Camp every time, allotting me a "management" block in two of them. Two seemed to pick up on my blog and other writing about science and health and gave me "medical," and two grabbed something about my "education." But the rest seemed to vary quite widely. You can see some of the words it pulls and what the context is, so you can get an idea of whether it's really finding you or someone else. My only wish is that you could see every link it is finding - for example, what gave me "aggression"? I'm dying to know.

Anyhow, it's pretty neat. You should check it out.

(h/t to Science Cheerleader)

4 comments:

Paper Hand said...

Go Camp? Awesome! :D I play a little go myself.

Stephanie B said...

Apparently I don't exist.

Thomas Say said...

Mine's all over the place. Apparently I was born in Philadelphia 200 years ago, am the father of American entomology, possibly wrote a poem, painted the Rocky Mountains, and am a Communist. I also say a lot.

Mariana Soffer said...

I found the application really good, it is pretty clear and organized for the mess of information that is internet. Besides one thing that is very important for me is that it is visually really nice and specially design for making easier for people to understand the data in it. Still jonathan harris beats it.