Watson and the Big 5

personalityI discussed the Big 5 psychometric dimensions in an earlier post here. Interestingly the topic has come up again via a circuitous route which took me along to the IBM website. The Watson Developer Cloud is a set of what IBM are calling ‘cognitive computing’ – a mix of data mining and machine learning that does clever stuff.

Now one of the bits of clever stuff it is claiming to do is analysis of personality using written text and the Big 5 personality model. Which sort of makes sense, as in other fields automated marking of writing against multiple criteria has been shown to be relatively reliable. So it isn’t wholly unfeasible that a sufficiently representative text could provide sufficient data to make a broad assessment of personality – and note a profile against the Big 5 traits is a very broad brush stroke assessment. However, it isn’t necessarily the case that everything you write reflects your personality directly – it is possible (indeed necessary) to write intentionally in other tones (i.e. to write more assertively or to write in a way that shows more elevated emotions etc). Consequently even a long piece of writing may be a poor sample.

Enough of this! Let us discover what kind of person Camestros Felapton is! I need a longish piece of text that doesn’t contain any quotes from other people and the most appropriate choice would be my previous essay on the Big 5.

Watson says:

You are shrewd and skeptical.

You are philosophical: you are open to and intrigued by new ideas and love to explore them. You are imaginative: you have a wild imagination. And you are proud: you hold yourself in high regard, satisfied with who you are.

Your choices are driven by a desire for prestige.

You are relatively unconcerned with both tradition and taking pleasure in life. You care more about making your own path than following what others have done. And you prefer activities with a purpose greater than just personal enjoyment.

Smug, self-satisfied and prestige seeking hey? Damn you Watson!