Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

IBM’s Watson Can Read Your Palm, er, Personality

watson-does-bills-personality

So just now I opened up Chad Pollitt’s Weekly Insider and he told me about how IBM’s Watson can deduce your personality from a small sample of your writing. So I ran over to the Watson IBM Developer Cloud and dropped in the last article I wrote for The Measurement Standard. Bada bing! Up popped a surprisingly comprehensive analysis of my alleged personality. (That’s it, above; me with my personality pants down. Try it yourself, you might learn something.)

I say “alleged” because some of Watson’s deep blue deductions don’t quite align with my self-image. I’ve always thought I had a bit more going in the Excitement, Love, and Hedonism departments. (Hey, I’m a fun guy, aren’t I? Aren’t I?).

Mr. Pollitt claims that his personality analysis came out just about the same for any piece of his writing he pointed Watson at. Watson is smart enough to win on Jeopardy, so it probably can spot our personality signature in whatever we write.

palmistryBesides the whole Magic 8 Ball and palm reading associations, the big deal here is that Big Brother can now track our personality fingerprints in whatever we write. It’s the online equivalent of face-recognition surveillance cameras everywhere. And when it comes time to persuade us or sell us something (which, nowadays, is somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 times a day), the personality-pimped marketing machine will no doubt craft truly personalized messages with deadly effectiveness. Crude marketing demographics like age and income will not just be passé, but largely beside the point.

Great. Any moment now I expect to start getting emails appealing to my lack of Closeness, Cheerfulness, and Harmony (see above). Makes me cranky just thinking about it. OK, so maybe I’m not such a fun guy after all.

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Bill Paarlberg
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Bill Paarlberg

Bill Paarlberg co-founded The Measurement Standard in 2002 and was its editor until July 2017. He also edits The Measurement Advisor newsletter. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
Bill Paarlberg
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