Channel: Artificial Intelligence
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IBM's Watson says it can analyze your personality in seconds — but the results are all over the place


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"You are heartfelt, confident and opinionated. You are calm under pressure: you handle unexpected events calmly and effectively."

At least that's what IBM's supercomputer program Watson thinks of me, based on a writing sample I gave it from a story I wrote on how skinny jeans are bad for your health.

Watson, the program that famously beat humans at Jeopardy!, now has a "Personality Insights" service that analyzes your blog posts, tweets, or other text you give it access to and spits out a horoscope-like description of your personality. You can enter text in English or Spanish, and it must be at least 100 words.

The program is amusing, but the results seemed a little inconsistent.

For example, when I plugged in the text of another story I wrote on a neuroscientist who found out he's a psychopath, I got a totally different response:

Screen Shot 2015 07 22 at 3.38.22 PM"You are unconventional and somewhat inconsiderate. You are unstructured: you do not make a lot of time for organization in your daily life. You are laid-back: you appreciate a relaxed pace in life. And you are carefree: you do what you want, disregarding rules and obligations..."

Thanks, Watson!

In addition to a description of your personality, the program gives you scores on the "Big Five" personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional range (sometimes called neuroticism).

It also scores you on various needs (such as love and liberty) and values (such as hedonism). You can view your personality data in a nifty graphic as well.

I also had some fun trying the program on works of Shakespeare ("You are shrewd and somewhat inconsiderate...you are comfortable using every trick in the book to get what you want"), “Harry Potter” ("You are boisterous and social... you are hard to embarrass and are self-confident most of the time"), and Taylor Swift lyrics ("You are a bit compulsive, somewhat shortsighted and can be perceived as dependent").

To give a reliable estimate of personality, the Watson program requires at least 3,500 words, but preferably 6,000 words, according to the product's documentation. IBM representatives say the text should also be "reflective"— in other words, it should reveal the author's personal experiences, thoughts and responses.


SEE ALSO: IBM's supercomputer Watson ingested 2,000 TED Talks and can answer your deepest questions

CHECK OUT: A machine is about to do to cancer treatment what ‘Deep Blue’ did to Garry Kasparov in chess

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