Show me who you click with and I'll tell you who you are

  •  July 8, 2020


Tell me who you click with and I'll tell you who you are

Can appearances be deceiving? Only if it's you. Computer software judges and classifies people - from age and social class to the "tribe" to which they belong. In addition to data such as address and online shopping habits, all this unwritten information can now be collected on social networks. And used by companies to hook (even more) you.

Computers do everything but judge a person. To overcome this machine failure, scientists at the University of California have developed a program that identifies their "urban tribe" from photos posted on the Internet.

And how it works? From each person, the algorithm created analyzes six points: face, head, top of the head (which may be in a hat or hat), neck, trunk and arms. This isolated information is grouped by meanings (cut style and hair color, makeup, jewelry and tattoos, for example). Finally, the data is crossed with the registered groups, such as cyclist, countryman, heavy metal, surfer, hipster or club. And look how hard it is to fool the program, which hits in 48% of cases. A common guess has a 9% chance of success.


One of its practical applications is public safety, as it can identify suspicious groups among crowds. However, it is its commercial use that concerns us. With all this information, brands can offer products and content most likely to be bought by people without them clearly realizing it - especially children.

But this customization of the world is more dangerous because it shows us only the things we like. In this way, everything that is different and diverse becomes inaccessible, which reinforces the belief in stereotypes and a life without surprises. After all, it is the ability to reinvent ourselves that most fascinates us in the human being. And it is to provide information and encouragement to make it happen that we are here.

Show me who you click how it works

The program in action: internet photos classified into urban tribes

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