The ugly truth(?)

Posted: December 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hey there,

Been busy these last few days, but I’ve been meaning to write about a little fun my friend Richard Hankinson had with me last week. Do you know the supercomputer Watson? It broke new ground in the quest for true AI by winning the American gameshow Jeopardy! in 2011. Watson’s now been put to work in the real world, but you can actually play with it online. Here’s what Richard said to me:

The IBM supercomputer Watson has a ‘Personality Insights’ program that derives a personality profile based on input text:

I copied in a random selection of your twitterings.  Below is the result:

You are skeptical, inner-directed and heartfelt.

You are laid-back: you appreciate a relaxed pace in life. You are self-focused: you are more concerned with taking care of yourself than taking time for others. And you are carefree: you do what you want, disregarding rules and obligations.

Your choices are driven by a desire for prestige.

You are relatively unconcerned with helping others: you think people can handle their own business without interference. You consider tradition to guide a large part of what you do: you highly respect the groups you belong to and follow their guidance

My first reaction – well, my lasting reaction, actually – is that it makes me sound like the world’s most selfish arse. But I like to think I know myself pretty well, and although it is partly accurate, it is by no means spot on. Specifically, I do take time for others, I volunteer for things when I can, I help my parents and my parents-in-law out (although admittedly, this is a function of familial reciprocity rather than charity). Also, tradition and groups, meh. Maybe that’s true to an extent, but only in a loose sense. It makes me sound like an American Republican, and I certainly am not. And although I have little time for rules and so forge my own path, I take my obligations very seriously.

The real miss in this is the “desire for prestige”. Yes, I do like prestige, but actually my main driver in  decision making is securing the easy, laid back life detailed in the first paragraph.

I suppose that this blog in particular would give a skewed result – I only discuss part of my life on here, and as I’m talking largely about my writing and my experiences, it is going to come off as very self-centred, but then I do that in person, memememememe all the bloody time. So, ow. Stung. Boohoo.

If you want to see what flavour of needy bastard you are, head over and give it a go yourself. In the meantime, here’s what Watson had to say about Hamlet based on an analysis of the nunnery speech, also input by Richard (true face – Richards in Richards & Klein is named after Richard, the reason? “Because he’s a know-it-all” I told my slightly crestfallen pal).

You are shrewd and somewhat inconsiderate.

You are unstructured: you do not make a lot of time for organization in your daily life. You are cautious of others: you are wary of other people’s intentions and do not trust easily. And you are compromising: you are comfortable using every trick in the book to get what you want.

Your choices are driven by a desire for self-expression.

You consider helping others to guide a large part of what you do: you think it is important to take care of the people around you. You are relatively unconcerned with tradition: you care more about making your own path than following what others have done.

  1. Peter Smith says:

    Ooh! It’s snowing!

    Twitter is an inherently self-referential medium so isn’t going to do well in such a test.

    You’ve also touched on one of the aspects that I find weird about the whole blogging phenomenon – the one-sidedness. The blogger shares details of their life traditionally shared with friends which can lull their readers into feeling that they know the blogger and therefore they are ‘friends’ but of course the reader is just a largely anonymous member of a crowd.

    To use us as an example, I know a version of you albeit an incomplete version. If I see you at a convention I’ll probably fish for details about what you’re working on but I will also be genuinely pleased to see you as a person because when we have chatted face to face I’ve enjoyed it and thanks to your blog when I ask you if you’ve had any good walks recently or how Magnus is doing it won’t just be politeness it will be genuine interest. To me it feels like a catch up with a genuine acquaintance but from your side the inner monologue could well be something like:
    “Err..sounds like we’ve met before…he does look vaguely familiar, no wait it’s just that he looks a bit like that guy who lives down the road from me…think Guy, think…sounds like he’s a fan and buys my books so best not offend him…oh sod it, no idea who this guy is, just going to have to blag it.”

    • guyhaley says:

      No, I remember your name because you talk to me online, no fear there! Though I would be lying if I said that has never happened. You get someone’s name once at a convention and forget it. I might meet someone once a year, I’m fresh to them because they’ve been reading my book, but I struggle to recall what we discussed the time before. Even worse is someone does talk to you in between online, but you don’t realise its the same person because their Twitter handle isn’t their actual name and their profile image is a cat/a baby/an ork (delete as applicable).

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