Looking through the MIT’s Media Lab software, hoping to find some clever new web mining/metric tool I came across Personas. You plug your name (or someone else’s) into the website and it produces a colored bar with categories that define your web self (online traces of your name).
Always ready for some self indulgence, I tried my name. Here is what i got in a the first run:
A few changes here and there, but a big slice of “online”, another of “education”, and a black dirty little bar of “politics” in the second run. “Sports” somehow comes up too, maybe another Tiago?
I ask because the point of the online exhibit is to suggest puzzlement:
In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. 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.
What if one tried the tool on someone unmistakable, whose identity could not be disputed? Someone like Santa Claus. Here is what i got (click to enlarge, but come back for the punchline):
Santa compares rather favorably with the elusive “Tiago Mata”, he is a multifaceted fellow of many colours, He is in equal measure: religious, social, bookish, famous, sportive and musical. Sounds like our man, once a bishop, now a globe trotting, chimney acrobat what sings his way into people’s hearts …and books? The books is the one that I am finding hard to piece in.