Facebook Knows You Better Than Your Friends

Ideally, you would expect your family and friends to be able to judge your character better than most. It turns out that is not exactly the case in this burgeoning age of computers. A study conducted by researchers at University of Cambridge and Stanford suggests that computers have truly taken over.

An average user of Facebook is able to score around 227 likes. An algorithm incorporated in the research would calculate the amount of ‘Likes’ each computer needed on average. This would enable understanding a person more precisely in light of the available statistics. For this reason, a total of 86,200 participants were made to complete personality questionnaires using myPersonality app. They were also made to access their Facebook Likes.

Given your Facebook profile, a computer can judge you better than family and friends through analyzing your ‘Likes’

Based on the given ‘Likes’, the researchers compared judgement of the computer to conclusions drawn by people regarding the participant who registered the ‘Likes’. Just so that it’s clear, people acting as judges were chosen in lieu of their familiarity with the participants. The subject under consideration would be judged on future life prospects like physical health, substance abuse and political leaning.

The researchers observed that computers relied on varying amounts of ‘Likes’ to better the prediction accuracy of different people. For instance, it merely required 10 likes to more accurately forecast one’s character than a co-worker. Similarly, it took 70 ‘Likes’ to beat a friend’s prediction, 150 to fare better than a family member’s and 300 ‘Likes’ to surpass a spouse’s understanding on the matter.

The study sheds new light on how much of our personality and character can be deduced from online activity

Researchers from UK and US institutions mark this as a feat that promotes social human-computer interaction. They believe that computers merely require data analysis to study our psychological postulates which goes to show their limitless capacity. Lead author at Cambridge University, Wu Youyou even went on to say that computers would be so advanced that they would react according to one’s pyschological traits. Socially skilled robots would become much more common as a result.

While robots undoubtedly promise benefits such as retention, access and analysis of information, it is imperative that developers as well as policymakers are ready to face associated challenges. As a mater of fact, Google has its internal committee discuss the possible challenges these might present and how to tackle them. After all, with all great technology comes a greater need of responsibility.