WBEZ | IBM http://www.wbez.org/tags/ibm Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en I Asked a Computer to Be My Life Coach http://www.wbez.org/sections/science/i-asked-computer-be-my-life-coach-114278 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/watson-personality-analysis---sample-7d7249c8bbbf75ed453f4f4b751ee633d189c530-s800-c85.png" alt="" /><p><div id="res460602444" previewtitle="IBM's Watson analyzes a Twitter account of an unnamed user, breaking down needs, values and five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism (aka emotional range)."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="IBM's Watson analyzes a Twitter account of an unnamed user, breaking down needs, values and five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism (aka emotional range)." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/21/watson-personality-analysis---sample-7d7249c8bbbf75ed453f4f4b751ee633d189c530-s800-c85.png" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="IBM's Watson analyzes a Twitter account of an unnamed user, breaking down needs, values and five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, aka emotional range. (IBM)" /></div><div><div><p>The words you use betray who you are.</p></div></div></div><p>Linguists and psychologists have long been studying this phenomenon. A few decades ago they had a hunch that the number of active verbs in your sentences or what adjectives you use (lovely, sweet, angry) reflect personality traits.</p><p>They have painstakingly pinpointed various insights. For example,&nbsp;<a href="http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/faculty/pennebaker/reprints/SuicidalPoets.PDF" target="_blank">suicidal poets</a>, in their published works, use more first-person singular words (like &quot;me&quot; or &quot;my&quot;) and death-related words than poets who aren&#39;t suicidal. People&nbsp;<a href="http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jhpee/vol5/iss1/6/" target="_blank">in positions of power</a>&nbsp;are more likely to make statements that involve others (&quot;we,&quot; &quot;us&quot;), while lower-status people often use language that&#39;s more self-focused and ask more questions. Comparing genders, women&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01638530802073712" target="_blank">tend to use</a>&nbsp;more words related to psychological and social processes, while men referred more to impersonal topics and objects&#39; properties.</p><p>(This&nbsp;<a href="http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Pennebaker/Reprints/Tausczik&amp;Pennebaker2010.pdf">2010 paper</a>&nbsp;in the&nbsp;J<em>ournal of Language and Social Psychology</em>&nbsp;goes into great detail about the so-called &quot;psychometrics&quot; of words.)</p><p>This research suggests that Internet companies such as Facebook and Google, with their troves of written expressions, are sitting on powerful insights about us as people. But if you ask them, &quot;Hey, can you give me the take on me that you&#39;ve got in-house or that you&#39;ve built for advertisers, with my anonymized data?&quot; &mdash; they won&#39;t give it to you. I actually did ask, and they don&#39;t have that kind of offering.</p><p>But I&#39;ve found someone who does: IBM&#39;s Watson division. Researchers there have taken the personality dictionaries already created by scientists, dropped them into Watson (the computer that won Jeopardy), and sent it off to apply it to people on Twitter, Facebook, blogs. That forms a digital population of people and personality types. Over time, more text from more people will help Watson get smarter. (Yes, this is machine learning.)</p><p>In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/developercloud/doc/personality-insights/science.shtml#researchMedia">its own studies</a>, IBM found that characteristics derived from people&#39;s writings can reliably predict some of their real-world behaviors. For instance, people who are less neurotic and more open to experiences are more likely to click on an ad, while people who score high on self-enhancement (meaning, seek personal success) like to read articles about work.</p><p>For IBM, these kinds of interpretations can become a business opportunity.</p><p>Understanding people in order to sell them things is obviously a very big business&nbsp;<a href="https://hbr.org/2015/11/quantifying-the-impact-of-marketing-analytics?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=harvardbiz">for marketers</a>. IBM&#39;s senior researcher Rama Akkiraju suggests other uses: by public relations firms looking for journalists who sound friendly on a specific topic; by editors who want their writers to set a certain tone; by employers looking for a worker who fits their corporate culture.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re moving to make it easier for people to consume insights,&quot; she says.</p><p>This use of Big Data, of course, raises serious privacy concerns, which&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/126394606/privacy" target="_blank">we have examined</a>&nbsp;in many stories. In this exploration, I decided to take a deep dive into Watson&#39;s personal insights &mdash; what they can teach me about my career choices and my love life (yep, really went there).</p><p><a href="http://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=460641423:460728815">You can listen to my story on NPR One</a>.</p><p>Not all of the tools I used are publicly available, but you can try out a couple of them. Click on &quot;<a href="http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/developercloud/tone-analyzer.html">view demo&quot; here</a>&nbsp;to test the tone analyzer that evaluated the tone expressed in my love letters. And here&#39;s a tool to analyze&nbsp;<a href="https://watson-pi-demo.mybluemix.net/" target="_blank">personality through writing</a>.</p><p>For now, Watson&#39;s personality analytics is a work in progress and not easy on the eyes. The pie chart it spits out from a person&#39;s social media posts, which you saw above, is a messy hodge-podge of about 50 traits. Plus, given how people curate their digital presence, the words we use online may be a highly biased indicator of who we are.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very interesting as a general curiosity,&quot; says Sina Khanifar, a San Francisco-based technologist, &quot;but what would really get me excited is if it made a particular recommendation.&quot;</p><p>Khanifar says many tools exist to help you quantify yourself, track your running speed or breathing patterns. What few of them do is actually suggest how to improve your life. And, he says, people don&#39;t just want to pay for insight. &quot;When you go to see a therapist, it is about self-knowledge. But it&#39;s also about a change.&quot;</p><p>A friend recently mused about what this kind of tool could do for dating. People lie about themselves on dating sites chronically. What if Google developed a service to mine your mail and search and paired you with the perfect partner?</p><p>That could be amazing, or amazingly creepy.</p><div id="res460602444" previewtitle="IBM's Watson analyzes a Twitter account of an unnamed user, breaking down needs, values and five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism (aka emotional range)."><p><em>Editor&#39;s Note: This post accompanies a story that you can hear on the&nbsp;NPR One&nbsp;app by&nbsp;<a href="http://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=460641423:460728815">following this link</a>.</em></p></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/12/22/459954667/i-asked-a-computer-to-be-my-life-coach?ft=nprml&amp;f=459954667" target="_blank"><em><u>via NPR</u></em></a></p></p> Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/science/i-asked-computer-be-my-life-coach-114278 Tech companies partner with Chicago high schools http://www.wbez.org/story/tech-companies-partner-chicago-high-schools-96821 <p><p>Five Chicago Public High Schools are partnering with technology companies to offer career training in addition to a traditional high school diploma. Students at those schools will also have the chance to take college credit courses through the City Colleges of Chicago.</p><p>IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, Cisco and Verizon will each partner with a high school in creating a curriculum that focuses on math, science, technology and engineering. The companies are also expected to provide internships and job interviews for graduating students.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he reached out to the companies.</p><p>"They have a shortage of workers. We have a student population ready to fill those jobs if they have the educational opportunities to do it," Emanuel said.</p><p>The changes will begin with this fall’s freshman class and Emanuel said he wants to see other schools follow this model in the coming years. IBM has developed a blueprint the city can use in creating future partnerships with businesses in other in-demand fields.</p><p>The high schools that will offer this new program are: Lake View, Corliss, Michele Clark, Chicago Vocational Career Academy and a new school being built at 7651 S. Homan.</p></p> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 23:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/tech-companies-partner-chicago-high-schools-96821 Who Is The New Overlord? http://www.wbez.org/story/fun/2011-02-17/who-new-overlord-82487 <p><p>It's Watson, of course.</p><p>IBM's supercomputer, pretty much as expected, did indeed <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133822413" target="_blank">crush the human competition on </a><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133822413" target="_blank">Jeopardy!</a>.</em></p><p>After a three-day tournament against past champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the machine had "earned" $77,147. Jennings was second with $24,000. Rutter came in third with $21,600. (<a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110216-719076.html" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> notes</a> that "the victory nets Watson a total prize of $1 million, which IBM will be donating to charity. Jennings and Rutter get $300,000 and $200,000, respectively, with plans to donate half to charities.)</p><p>"I for one welcome our new computer overlords," Jennings wrote with his Final Jeopardy answer, after it was clear that Watson would win.</p><p><strong>Update at 2 p.m. ET: </strong>Jennings and IBM chief scientist David Ferrucci just spoke with <em>All Things Considered</em> co-host Melissa Block. Jennings said, and Ferrucci agreed, that Watson was faster to the buzzer than his opponents.</p><p>"Human reflexes have a hard time competing with the precision of electronic circuitry," Jennings said. He also believes that "if this were a very boring game show in which all three of us wrote down our responses on paper, a good human jeopardy player could take Watson nearly all the time. But it stays in the game with its speed advantage."</p><p>Here's part of his conversation with Melissa:</p><p>We'll add the as-broadcast version of the interview to this post later. <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/stations/stations/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams ATC.</p><p><strong>Back to our original post:</strong></p><p>Now, Watson is <a href="http://www.medgadget.com/archives/2011/02/ibm_watson_could_revolutionize_healthcare.html" target="_blank">on to the world of health care</a>. Researchers are going to see how helpful it could be to doctors. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1297980731?&gn=Who+Is+The+New+Overlord%3F&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=IBM,Watson,Jeopardy%21,Health,Technology,National+News,Fun,The+Two-Way,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133834740&c7=1003&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1003&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110217&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=133834994,133834774,133775223,127606515,127602971,127602855,127602405,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/fun/2011-02-17/who-new-overlord-82487