Personas, part of the Metropath(ologies) art installation on display at the MIT Museum, generates a visualization of a person's online identity. We entered a few famous names to see if the internet knows something about them that we don't.

The program scours the internet for information about the person and then fits them into a set of categories using an algorithmic process. Obviously from the results below, the process isn't perfect, but that's part of the point. The creators explain:

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 computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.

In other words, it may be telling that one of Nadya Suleman's biggest categories is "fame," but "sports" winding up on Anna Wintour's profile probably means the computer misinterpreted combative phrases in articles about her.


You can check out what Personas reveals about your favorite (or unfavorite) people here. Feel free to share the results in the comments.

Click on the images below to make them larger:

Personas [MIT]