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What you are like and what you buy because of it

Key Visual Feuill-IT-ong

Algorithms that know our personality? Yes, there is such a thing! Part 1 of this satirically funny but no less enlightening column is about the "Big 5" – five personality dimensions according to which our Internet behavior is analyzed.


by Strigalt von Entf*

Strigalt von Entf

Dear readers, I'm sure you are already eagerly awaiting the object of today's intellectual adventure. Of course, it must be something very special for you, because those who have read Strigalt in the past also like ...

Well, what do you like? An algorithm could probably tell us. Allegedly. Because the algorithm doesn't know us (more on that here and here), it simply calculates probabilities based on our and other people's usage behavior – and it does not differentiate at all. You watched "The Boys?" Those who did, then also saw ... In fact, the algorithm utterly and completely disregards one thing: Why did I actually watch this superhero-society-criticism-murder-soft-porn-blood-spattered-politics spectacle? What did I like about it?

If I was entertained by the excessive use of fake blood, the gracefully flying body organs, and the heads exploding in a variety of ways, there would probably follow very different series recommendations (maybe even the home video of the birth of one's children – but that's another topic), than if it was the ironic-critical look at the leviathan of omnipotent capitalism that captivated me.

I see you're puzzled as to why your Strigalt fell for this action spectacle of all things? Well, don't worry, I rather let all the above mentioned get over me in order to follow the processing of the God complex, the psychological power motive, but also the lower drives of the (super)human being in this creative processing form.

Well, you see, highly esteemed thought companions, an algorithm does not have an easy task. But do not despair, because the light of hope is already shining on the horizon over the gloomy landscape of superficiality. Experts now want to teach the computer model to take our personality into account. That way, it can better assess what suits you. This is already being used by online department stores which are trying to make their merchandise even more suitable for their customers. In doing so, they rely on the "Big 5" model generally recognized in the world of psychology – five dimensions of personality that are supposed to be identifiable across cultures:

1. Openness

You are in a distant country, someone with an obliging smile serves you a bowl of unknown material containing an amazing dish you have never seen before – even the ingredients are largely unknown to you. In this situation, do curiosity and the joy of adding such a wonderfully exotic meal  to your already rich experience predominate? If so, you probably score high on this scale. If, instead, in such situations, you typically discreetly ask whether there might not also be a Wiener Schnitzel – if need be, also a Schnitzel Wiener Art – then your score will probably not be very lofty.

2. Conscientousness

You have (as it is your habit) done everything on your to-do list today, including writing a to-do list, before you delightfully devote yourself to today's Strigalt column, which you neatly print out, cut out and paste with exact margins into your album of thoughts worth preserving? Psychologists would probably consider you to be very conscientious. If, on the other hand, you start your daily procrastination late in the morning and read this fine article ... let's say ... in May 2024 at the earliest, because you have always put it off despite your best intentions, then you would probably be at the other end of the scale.

How AI recognizes the personality traits of your customers

In order to address customers online in a personalized way and offer them products and services tailored to their needs, many companies rely primarily on demographic data such as age, gender or income. However, important factors such as character traits or personal values are left out of the equation.

With the help of AI-supported psychometrics, these characteristics can also be interpreted in order to create a much more personalized shopping experience for customers online. Find out how: in the "Sparx" talk by Kathrin Schwan, Managing Director at Accenture, and Sarah Boecker, Data Science Manager at Accenture. Watch the video now!

3. Extraversion

Do you flourish in company like the bon vivant Giacomo Casanova, soaking up social life as if it were the divine nectar ambrosia? You make friends so quickly that the xylophone movement of Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakoff seems like a sleepy largo by comparison? Obviously: you are rather extraverted. If, on the other hand, while reading Süskind's "Perfume," you envied Jean-Baptiste Grenouille for living several months in a cave far away from humanity, then you can probably be described as an "introvert."

4. Agreeableness

I'll do this bold and simple: Do you interact with the referee more like Roger Federer? Or more like Björn Borg?

5. Neuroticism

If you tend to neuroticism, you are ... how do I put this without offending you ... you probably have very fine antennae and react in turn very ... intensely and ... emotionally committed also to rather insignificant events. If you were a deity, you would not hesitate to bring plagues and catastrophes onto your faithful even for the smallest transgressions. (Note on my behalf: Should you happen to be a neurotic deity, I would like to point out that I mean this in no way evaluating, as a deity, praised be you!, you are entitled to it, of course!). If, on the other hand, you have an almost Buddhist equanimity – the deceitful deception of your beloved spouse in front of your eyes hardly upsets you more than a Pinot Gris served with roast venison (well ... this actually does sometimes work!) – you are more likely to be considered emotionally stable.

What influence do new technologies have on us humans?

Psychologist and best-selling author Allan Guggenbühl speaks with us about the ways in which new technologies are permanently changing us humans, and why he believes that they do not necessarily make us superior to previous generations in all respects. Read the interview now!

This is all very well, but how does it help the worthy algorithm to present me with exactly what I have always needed in the online store? That, dear readers, I may reveal to you in the second part of this analytical Phoenix flight. As well as why an online algorithm is not enough if we want to preserve our humanity.

Honoured,
Strigalt von Entf

The Format

*Our "Feuill-IT-ong" format is created in collaboration with the two freelance writers Tobias Lauterbach und Daniel Al-Kabbani who occasionally contribute to the satire platform "Der Postillon". Under the pseudonym Strigalt von Entf, they report on current events from the world of technology – always with a wink! ;-)

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