Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Techism (and you thought totalitarianism was scary): part 3

With cognitive computing IBM Watson is offering all manner of Application Programming Interfaces (API's) whereby you can take advantage of its extreme level of computing power. One of these is called "Personality". Of course, I immediately thought of Jungian personality types; Briggs-Myers; Humanmetrics and so on. Mind you, all of these already use computer applications far less powerful than IBM Watson and it would be speculative, indeed, to try and analyse anyone's personality just from a sample of something they had written. Even human estimations on bodies of work, descriptions of people by others and observation of the person can only go so far. Sure, it is easy enough (if you know what you are doing) to separate the introvert from the extravert but as you go deeper, it becomes progressively more difficult. The average person would not even be able to separate the introvert from the extravert. I am mistaken for an extravert all the time. You see, Jung's classifications are far from intuitive and his definitions are often very different from dictionary definitions of the same word. A sociopath, for example is an extreme version of one of his "rational" types. This would make no sense at all to anyone not well read in Jung.

Pursuing the personality links further I came across this classification: Agreeableness; Conscientiousness; Extraversion; Emotional Range; Openness. It had all the hallmarks of a business-oriented personality classification, but I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt and look at "The science behind the service" and I found "For Jung, extraverts were more focused on the outer world and introverts on their own inner mentality". Of course, no reference was given for this idiotic statement. Perhaps it came from a book entitled "Jung: By Dummies, for Dummies" or some tabloid at the supermarket checkout, who knows? Let me set this straight: Extraverts look at the outer, visible workings of themselves, others and the world; Introverts look at the inner, hidden, workings of themselves, others and the world. Extraverts are not too keen on spirituality and aesthetics; Introverts do not get terribly excited by accounting and selling Ferrari's. If you want the very best systems analyst never pick an extravert, they are most likely only going to see the top levels of anything.This would be magnified a hundredfold if you are looking at social systems. If the extravert was so focused in the external world, we might expect them all to be rather poorly dressed.

Reading down in the classification I came across "[Extraversion:] Friendliness / Outgoing / Warmth: Genuinely like other people and openly demonstrate positive feelings toward others." All sociopaths are extraverts so let's take Ted Bundy. He sure was able to openly demonstrate positive feelings toward others. The problem was that for some of those who believed him, it was the last thing they ever did. Not only did he not "genuinely like other people", he could not even perceive people as individuals, just as things in his own environment to do with as he wished.

But it gets far more complex than that. An individual has both Introverted and Extraverted traits even though they will be dominantly one or the other. I am an introverted intuitive, but my feeling function is extraverted. I can, and do, speak very passionately about things and this why most people see me as an extravert.

Here  is a very good account of the value of introverts in business. If you have any experience with business at all, you will know that these things are not widely understood: The Value of Introverts in the Workplace: Why Employers Should Take Notice.

If you read yesterday's post, you will see that with IBM Watson being very fashionable, the business world is likely to become even more screwed up than it already is.

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