Tag Archives: culture

What if Twitter could predict our success?


I saw this on Emilie Ogez’s blog (@eogez), who posted some surprising news from BBC Mundo.  Apparently, two HP researchers, Sitaram Asur and Bernardo Huberman, have created an algorithm that allows one to predict the success of a movie based on 3 criteria: the number of tweets generated about it, the longevity of the tweets, and their nature (positive, negatigve or neutral).  This algorithm is founded on the analysis of 3 million tweets concerning 25 films, including Avatar.  The results have 97% reliability.  The precision of certain results is quite surprising: the algorithm predicted 16.8 million dollars in profits for the opening week of The Crazies—and the profits turned out to be 16.6 million!  The same algorithm predicted 30.7 million dollars for the opening week of Dear John (see tear-jerker trailer below), which garnered 30.5 million dollars!

The algorithm is particularly good for movies whose target audience is similar to twitter users: young, tech-savvy, with a high purchasing power.  As a result, the algorithm is less accurate for other target audiences, such as children.  One wonders if this means of predicting a movie’s success based on Twitter could also predict the profitability of brands or of a political candidate….


What if the ads were looking at you?


Is Big Brother Japanese?  According to this CNN documentary on facial recognition technology, what we saw in Minority Report is more Science Fact than Science Fiction!  As long as this technology is only being used to sell toothpaste or lipstick, there is (relatively) little to worry about.  However, highly advanced facial recognition technology can be used, for better or for worse, in so many different ways.  Now more than ever, an ethical code for collecting personal data must be created.

What if the metro wasn’t so anonymous, after all?

Meet Gloria, a Chinese Student living in Paris, encountered on April 13th.  Meet Cheikh, a lawyer by day and a musician by night, encountered on April 8th.  These snapshots are from l’inconnu du métro (“the stranger on the metro”)—a blog that features a daily portrait of a metro passenger who has caught photographer Marie Dinkle’s eye.

Another favorite of mine is “Love is in the RER”, a flickr page that showcases photos of couples in the RER subways.  Reminiscient of Doisneau’s famous improvised portraits of everyday couples, these blogs remind us that poetry isn’t just on earth, but underground! 😉