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IBM’s Watson Is Identifying Social-Media Influencers in Our Worst Version of the Future (This One)

Photo: Ben Hider/Getty Images

Watson, a supercomputer developed by IBM, is capable of many things. It (he?) is literally able to compete on Jeopardy! at the highest levels and can develop recipes and solve a whole host of problems and conundrums.

But now he (it??) is tackling its (his???) toughest challenge yet: identifying social-media influencers. Adweek reports that publisher Condé Nast is using the tool “to know which influencer’s demographics, personality traits and more best align with a marketer and the audience it’s targeting.”

For example, if a brand wants to find somebody who’s adventurous, Watson—which can analyze the last 20,000 words and emojis an influencer has published—helps weed out those that are more prone to doing vlogs from their couch. If a brand wants to pitch an action film, they might input key words like “action” and “explosion” to see which influencers have used them the most. Once the data analysis is complete, Watson then picks out five, 10 or a few dozen candidates for humans to choose from.

On further thought, maybe this is a good thing. Why should some human have to manually flip through a billion selfies and a trillion vlogs in order to find someone who can adequately represent their fun, hip brand on the information superhighway? Sorry, Watson, you could change the world, but instead you’re tracking hashtags.

IBM’s Watson Is Identifying Social-Media Influencers