I Google myself every now and then. Everyone does. I don’t know why people act like it’s all weird to do it. We’re all interested in what’s out there on the Internet about us or someone with the same name as us. Some of it is right. A lot of it is wrong. Personas, from MIT’s Metropath(ologies) exhibit, scours the Web and attempts to characterize how the Internet sees you.
In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. 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. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.
The piece is about the incorrectness of your Internet profile just as much as what’s right.
As many have pointed out, the end result is kind of anti-climatic, but it’s fun to watch the process at work, which makes heavy use of natural language processing algorithm latent Dirichlet allocation [pdf] from Blei, et. al.
How does the Internet see you?