Mr Ulster Personas

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Thanks to Alan in Belfast for unearthing this little gem by artist Aaron Zinman:

Personas shows you how the Internet sees you. It allows you to see how the machine is working, revealing the computers uncanny insights and 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 the computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant — for now. Fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, and this kind of data is indispensable but far from infallible.”

Indeed, the more unique your name the more accurate the result. “Mr Ulster” was far too generic (and inaccurate); the author’s name produced better results (only a minister in Pennsylvania by the same name slightly skewed my “religion” results). And there must be some athlete out there with the same name.

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