Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Personas: Visualizing Your Online Identity



A component of the MIT Media Lab’s “Metropath(olgies)” installation, which looks at the non-stop flow of communication and information in the modern world, Personas delivers a data portrait of your online identity by combining natural language processing and Internet search tools.

Enter your first and last name into the search box, and watch as Personas matches your name to a pre-existing set of categories created through an algorithmic method that references a vast body of data.

The philosophy behind the installation, according to the Personas site:

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.


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