Synthetic flesh

In Be Right Back, a brilliant yet creepy episode of the British TV series “Black Mirror”, a grieving woman (Martha) loses her husband (Ash) in a car crash. During the funeral, Martha’s friend Sarah tells her about a service to help grieving people to recover, creating a virtual Ash to communicate with her from the information available in social networks and Internet.

One day Martha gets a message from Ash, and she realises Sarah has signed her up for the service. Initially, Martha’s displeased but, on finding she’s pregnant, relents and relishes their conversations. With her comfort-level growing talking with the synthetic Ash, it isn’t long before ‘he’ tells Martha about a ‘next level’ of communicating – one which is…experimental.

The synthetic flesh version of Ash is almost identical to him and mimics his appearance, personality and gait. Although the story is fiction and unlikely to take place in real life, we leave behind massive amounts of online data as a result of media consumption and social networks. This is information you share consciously and unconsciously and could serve purposes like the one discussed in the Black Mirror episode.

Below an overview of services or APIs that analyze and process your digital footprint and then create a model or make predictions/infer personality traits based out of this unstructured data.

Data Selfie

Data Selfie is a Chrome extension tracks clicks on likes in your Facebook newsfeed, clicks on newsfeed links to external sites, duration spent on different posts and the specifics of those posts your newsfeed, anything you type, and time spent on Facebook overall. It uses IBM Watson for Natural Language Processing and AI algorithms from the University of Cambridge to do some neat predictions.

Personality Insights

Personality Insights from IBM helps you gain insight into how and why people think, act, and feel the way they do. The service applies linguistic analytics and personality theory to infer attributes from a person’s unstructured text. This tool can also gauge your personality based on your tweets.

Tone Analyzer

Tone Analyzer (IBM) uses linguistic analysis to detect three types of tones in written text: emotions, social tendencies, and writing style. Tone Analyzer service can be used to understand emotional context of conversations and communications. This insight is to be used to respond in an appropriate manner.

Let me know if you know any similar services, so I can get them added to the list.

One thought on “Synthetic flesh”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *