Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In Which A Computer Tells You If You're A Jerk

Thanks to Reddit, I happened across IBM's Watson text analyzer.

dingy computer haven
Photo by Rudolf Schuba

Here's how it works: You put in a paragraph of your writing, click "Analyze," and it spits out a bunch of graphics and percentages that are incredibly confusing but also a short paragraph that tells you what Watson thinks your personality is based upon your writing.

weathered magic book
Photo by scmanica

And here's an example of the "Summary" analysis from Watson when it analyzed my blog writing:
You are unpretentious and somewhat compulsive.
You are laid-back: you appreciate a relaxed pace in life. You are empathetic: you feel what others feel and are compassionate towards them. And you are intermittent: you have a hard time sticking with difficult tasks for a long period of time.
Your choices are driven by a desire for organization.
You are relatively unconcerned with taking pleasure in life: you prefer activities with a purpose greater than just personal enjoyment. 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.
*Compared to most people who participated in our surveys.

I don't know about all this laid back nonsense, but it's fun to see my results!

And I'm kind of annoyingly persistent. But, hey, each blog post spits out different results based on who I was being that week. I'm a bloggin' chameleon. But there's definitely some of me in that description.

fairy land
Photo by Greg Westfall

I started putting pieces of my books into the analyzer and was really confused by the results. These descriptions weren't me at all! But they could be my main character.

It was actually really cool. I put in a bit of writing from my main character Eric Ortega's point of view and got out info about an impetuous, empathetic kid. 

Throwing in a paragraph from main character Cat Pearce's POV, I got info about a take-charge, empathetic kid.

evil chess land
Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Then my husband said, "Put in your villain! I'm starting to think it tells everyone they're empathetic."

And so I did. My villain's Summary paragraph was about a ruthless, ambitious dude.

There were definitely a few pieces of the description that didn't work out, but it was still a fun experiment.


  1. That is so cool! It's like a voice-checker to make sure your characters are spot on!

    1. I thought it was a lot of fun. I've no idea whether it's incredibly accurate, but it did give me a feel for how my characters might be coming off.

  2. I put in a few of my blog posts and what really surprised me was how differently it analysed me in different posts, as though by talking about different subjects, I was becoming a different person. It did say that I seemed focused on success in all of them: perhaps that's something to do with how I portray things on my blog? And it also seemed to think I wasn't interested in artistic or creative pursuits, which I found a bit baffling, since I definitely am... Hmm. Interesting.

    1. Yeah. It didn't always get me completely right either. Not sure whether it's the analyzer that's off or whether those particular passages just didn't fully reflect my personality.

      I thought it was fun, though.