A new project from the MIT Media Lab, Personas, combines "sophisticated natural language processing," the web and the potent fuel of narcissism to generate profiles for those curious about their online presence.
How does it work? "Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person - to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile."
Aaron Zinman led creation on the project; try it out here.
Venerable startup cultivator Paul Graham's Y Combinator project has a new aim: Requests For Startups.
Launched this week, the idea seeks to put problems out and invite solutions in the form of new companies. For the first round, the topics are "Future of Journalism" and "New Paths Through Product Space."
The former wonders "What would a content site look like if you started from how to make money—as print media once did—instead of taking a particular form of journalism as a given and treating how to make money from it as an afterthought?"
As Y Combinator states in the introduction, "RFSes won't describe exactly what we're looking for, partly because we want to see if applicants can figure out the other half themselves (ideally better than we had), and partly because describing the idea precisely might create competition for the YC-funded startup we hope will be working on it."
The Society of Digital Agencies announced this week it's bulkind up, rounding out the number of interactive companies involved in the group to 30. Bloc, Colossal Squid, Deep Focus, Evolution Bureau (EVB), GRAPE, Great Fridays, Gringo, IE, Mekanism, Obscura Digital, Profero, Rain, R/GA, SOAP Creative, Soleil Noir, Terralever, and Unit 9 are among the new members of the group, founded in 2007.
Meanwhile, Colorado University's Boulder Digital Works program announced its board of directors, heavy with SoDA, Hyper Island and Crispin Porter + Bogusky brains. Holding company MDC Partners is a founding partner of the initiative, which create a new digital instruction base at the university. CaT alums involved include Mike Geiger, chief digital officer at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Mattias Hansson, CEO of Hyper Island and Winston Binch, VP and managing director of interactive at CP+B. Tickets for CaT London, on November 19th, are now available. Click to find out more.