Saturday, February 28, 2015

Personality Insights?

IBM's Watson has now released a Personality Insights service, see the Personality Insights Demonstration. From the announcement:

"The Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to infer the personality characteristics, intrinsic needs and values of individuals from communications that a user opts to make available via mediums such as email, text messages, social media, forum/blog posts, and more. These insights help businesses better understand their clients and improve customer satisfaction by anticipating customer needs and recommending future actions. This allows businesses to improve new client acquisition, retention, and engagement, and strengthen their relationships with existing customers.
The following is a brief description of the three kinds of personality insights that are provided by this service:
  1. Personality characteristics: The service can build a portrait of an individual’s personality characteristics and how they engage with the world across five primary dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (also known as Emotional Range).
  2. Needs: The service can infer certain aspects of a product that will resonate with an individual across twelve needs: Excitement, Harmony, Curiosity, Ideal, Closeness, Self-expression, Liberty, Love, Practicality, Stability, Challenge, and Structure.
  3. Values: The service can identify values that describe motivating factors which influence a person’s decision-making across five dimensions: Self-transcendence / Helping others, Conservation / Tradition, Hedonism / Taking pleasure in life, Self-enhancement / Achieving success, and Open to change / Excitement."
I plugged in the text of a half dozen blog posts, totaling approximately eight thousand three hundred words, and ran them through the demo. The results are below:

Click to enlarge:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Follow up - Tweedledum & Tweedledee

The blog entry from July of 2008, 'The Powell rehabilitation project?', discussed the subject of Colin Powell and his knowledge of "enhanced interrogation tactics' (EIT a.k.a. torture), and how his aide Colonel Larry Wilkerson gave Powell 'cover' on this issue. This even though there was plenty of evidence that Powell knew what was going on despite his lack of "sufficient memory recall" about meetings he had attended where the subject was discussed in detail.

Then in 2014 any dissembling about his knowledge should have ended when John Rizzo specifically recalled Powell's involvement, see 'Confirmed! (Powell & torture)'.  And yet, Powell appears to have escaped any opprobrium, for example see: 'Apparent success!'

Wilkerson continues his coverup, for example see this recent panegyric to him in Vice from January 2015 - 'The Bush Administration Whistleblower Who Says the US Has Not Closed the Door on Torture'. Whistleblower? Sure, if you a) ignore the contrary evidence, and, b) define 'whistleblower' as someone who kept quiet at the time and only spoke up much later (and then has been very selective in what he discloses)!

Uh, yes... So?

An entry, European Prison Populations, informs us that "... According the Council Of Europe's Annual Penal Statistics issued in September 2013, Russia has the highest ratio of prisoners in its population, with 475 out of every 100,000 inhabitants serving time in jail. This is effectively ten times the rate of incarceration in Iceland, which has 47.2 prisoners for every 100,000 inhabitants..." with an accompanying graphic. 

This is the sum total of the 'article', so one wonders what the message is intended to be. Just a simple factoid, or is this supposed to be more meaningful?  One wonders... 

Considering that this is from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, it's not much of a stretch to believe that this factoid was put out there to make an unflattering comparison between Russia and Europe, and to illustrate a negative point about Russia. 

Unfortunately, if one conflates a high prison population per 100,000 with a negative view of the country in question then what are we to take from the following (source)?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Random chart - creationism

"More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising..."