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Saturday, November 09, 2013

Twitter Goes Public! Bayesian Probability Goes Public!

Twitter had its Inital Public Offering, and the seventh pillar of the wisdom of the Internet was finally set in place.

I am going to ignore Twitter, just like I ignore Facebook.

Read the following:
Ads Could Soon Know If You’re an Introvert (on Twitter)

Trying to derive a person’s wants and needs—conscious or otherwise—from online browsing and buying habits has become crucial to companies of all kinds.
Now IBM is taking the idea a step further. It is testing technology that guesses at people’s core psychological traits by analyzing what they post on Twitter, with the goal of offering personalized customer service or better-targeted promotional messages.

“We need to go below behavioral analysis like Amazon does,” says Michelle Zhou, leader of the User Systems and Experience Research Group at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in California, which developed the software. “We want to use social media to derive information about an individual—what is the overall affect of this person? How resilient is this person emotionally? People with different personalities want something different.”

Zhou’s software develops a personality profile based on a person’s most recent few hundred or thousand Twitter updates. That profile scores the “big five” traits commonly used in psychological research: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. It also scores the person on measures of “values” (for example, hedonism and conservatism) and “needs” (for example, curiosity and social harmony).

Zhou says she is working with several IBM customers to test how the technology might help their businesses. She declines to identify the companies but says they might use the system, for example, to tune marketing messages sent by e-mail or social media, or to select the promotional content displayed when a customer logs in to his or her account.


 Many businesses already make use of software that analyzes social-media activity. However, it is aimed either at helping corporate representatives interact with customers or at summarizing the overall volume and tone of a discussion (see “A Social-Media Decoder”), not at profiling individuals.
Will Twitter sell its profiling info to the CIA, like AT&T sells information? Will the NSA get to view it? You know darn well they will try in the near future, and - judging from what we've seen - they will succeed in getting into our heads even more.

The data collection will be constant. It will be the biggest experiment in Bayesian statistics in a society ever conducted! Bayesian analysis can be powerful stuff if properly done. There are too many passkeys and not enough deadbolts... and freewill cannot be free under constant scrutiny.

It's a fool's game of lethal proportions.

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