Daily Archives: September 12, 2014

Why Facebook posts can’t reveal personality traits anymore

New York: The privacy changes in the recent past on the social networking site Facebook have made it difficult to reveal personalities of people peeping into your profile or ‘liking’ your posts, say researchers.

“Previous studies have given us really good evidence that we do know what people are like when we get a complete view of their actions on Facebook,” said Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of communication studies from University of Kansas.

However, since much of the research studied earlier versions of Facebook, it is conceivable that people’s ability to accurately judge others has gone down as a consequence of these changes, he added.

Researchers found that one Facebook activity that did not carry much weight in accurately detecting personality was number of “likes” a post generates from other users.

“It is unfortunate because that it is one of the main factors in how often other people are seeing posts and it is probably worthless for knowing what their real personality is,” Hall stated.

Another change is the kind of information that was shown on the info page, now referred to as the About page.

At one point, Facebook users were able to list their favourite bands, books and movies. Those who did so tended to have open personalities.

“Now Facebook asks users to choose from a list of options which is a passive step versus an active one,” Hall maintained.

In a previous study, Hall and his team sampled 100 Facebook users, paralleling the demographics of the social networking site, and asked them to fill out a personality survey.

A group of coders looked at each person’s Facebook activity, 53 cues in all, to see whether certain personality types were more likely to do specific activities.

The researchers then had 35 strangers spend 10 to 15 minutes on each of the Facebook users’ profile pages to see if they could correctly gauge a person’s personality.

The crux of the study looked at which cues correlated to personality types and whether the 35 strangers were able to correctly detect personality traits based on those cues.

“We found that extroversion was the easiest personality trait for strangers to interpret followed by agreeableness and openness,” Hall noted.

While strangers were able to correctly match certain Facebook activities with personality traits in the previous study, researchers now believe new algorithms enacted by Facebook make it harder to detect personality traits.

The study is set to appear in the journal New Media & Society.


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4 innovative use of technology

Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, Mobile and Social are used to help businesses address heightened consumer expectations for seamless, connected experiences. Below are four such innovations in different sectors:

Analytics for ATMs ATM analytics allows a bank to track its ATM network to help predict outages due to cash shortages or maintenance issues. Predictive analytics can help suggest cash refill and ATM maintenance strategy. Based on predictive model suggestion, it can point precise locations of ATMs, where action needs to happen. The technology helps in reducing reporting turnaround time and optimises ATM cash planning in the bank. Further it provides the ability to quickly determine and mediate machine outages.

Effective commodity trade forecasts using Big Data Based on Big Data and Analytics, another innovation is targeted at suppliers of commodities such as wheat and rice. Wheat is grown in Punjab, for example, and its yield is heavily dependent on weather. The ideal temperature for its growth is 25-35 degrees centigrade. However, if the temperature increases to around 40 degrees centigrade, then the yield is going to drop. Also, it needs to be stored in granaries, which needs to be at temperature of around 24 degrees centigrade. The crop also has a limited shelf life of a week. So, gap between demand and supply will lead to increase or decrease in wheat prices. By using Big Data this difference in demand-supply can be managed.

Emergency Help via Internet of Things and Remote Patient Monitoring Another new innovation is around the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology that can be used to help remotely monitor patients’ conditions. It help physicians and doctors to analyse the patients’ health status and provide medical consultation anywhere, anytime. The tool can also make use of data from diagnostic sensors, which are connected to a wearable device. Via the cloud, data from the wearable device connects with an application running on Bluemix, which analyses relevant health information and then informs the attendant and the doctor of any problems. This instrumented solution could be especially useful in urgent medical situations by connecting emergency vehicles with a Bluemix-based centralised traffic control, transmitting positioning data and enabling traffic control to clear the traffic for the vehicle.

Insights for Predictive Marketing Predictive marketing integrates social analytics and smarter commerce products to provide insights into personalised cross-channel marketing campaigns. The innovation can enable marketers to “pivot” from analysing anonymous social identities to reach real consumers with customised messages. Analysis of social media can provide an additional input in the creation of models that predict customer behavior. The outcomes can enable an organisation to interact with them in a way to enhance experience across each touch point. As a result, the innovation can support businesses to leverage the relevant information from social media for productive decision making. They will be able to understand their differentiators and competitors vulnerabilities.


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Solar storm heads Earth`s way after double sun blasts

Washington: Two big explosions on the surface of the sun will cause a moderate to strong geomagnetic storm on Earth in the coming days, possibly disrupting radio and satellite communications, scientists said Thursday.

The unusual storm is not likely to wreak havoc with personal electronics but may cause colorful nighttime auroras, or displays of the Northern Lights, late Friday and early Saturday.

“We don`t expect any unmanageable impacts to national infrastructure from these solar events at this time but we are watching these events closely,” said Thomas Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“More pleasantly, we do expect these storm levels to cause significant auroral displays across much of the northern US on Friday night,” he said.

The storm began with a minor solar flare on Monday, followed by a major X-class flare — the strongest classification — on Wednesday at around 1745 GMT.

Both eruptions came from the same sunspot near the center of the solar disk, and both produced significant coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, of magnetized plasma headed toward Earth.

On a scale of one to five, the resulting geomagnetic storm should be “moderate to strong,” rating a G2 or G3, Berger said.

“It is fairly rare for two CMEs of this magnitude to come in close succession like this,” he told reporters.

“Because of this we cannot rule out higher storm levels perhaps as high as G4 or severe geomagnetic storming, particularly in the polar regions.”

The National Weather Service has alerted power grid operators and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, just in case.

The strength of the storm pales in comparison to major geomagnetic storms of years past, such as the 1859 Carrington event that wiped out power across a swath of Canada.

It is also weaker than a near-miss geomagnetic storm in July 2012 that NASA scientists said could have knocked Earth`s technology back at least 150 years.

That storm didn`t cause mass damage because the fast-moving energized particles were not directed straight at Earth.

“The events that just occurred over the last 24 hours were Earth-directed, they are just not that big,” said William Murtagh, program coordinator at the Space Weather Prediction Center.

“If we had a very big storm — and this is not it — that produced big problems with the power grid, that would be our biggest concern.”

Nor is the radiation caused by these flares presently enough to raise concern for astronauts at the International Space Station, experts said.

But given the nature of CMEs with their internal magnetic fields, scientists are not yet sure exactly what will happen when they bounce off the Earth`s protective shield.

“The sun just shot out a magnet that is going to interact with another magnet, the Earth`s magnetic field,” explained Murtagh.

“And how they couple together is going to be critical in determining how intense the geomagnetic storm is going to be.”


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