Computers ‘judge personality better than friends’

Computers can be better at predicting our personality than our friends and family, an experiment with tens of thousands of volunteers has indicated. By analysing "likes" on Facebook, a computer model deduced a person’s character on five key traits better than brothers, mothers and even some partners. The team acknowledge that personality is complex.
But they say the results show computers can outpace humans. And the findings, in the journal PNAS, suggest some interesting associations, Facebook fans of Dr Who tend to be shy, while fans of Big Brother are conservative or conventional. The University of Cambridge and Stanford University researchers had already said that Facebook "likes" could be used to predict a raft of personal information including sexual orientation and political leaning.
In this study, they wanted to go a step further and pit man against machine to see which would perform better at making judgements about human character and personality. Dr Youyou Wu and her colleagues ran the data of 70,520 willing Facebook users through their computer system, which linked "likes" to five core personality traits: