I recently read the article, Facebook’s Gen Y Nightmare. It is worth reading (or at least skimming). Here are the highlights of the article.

In 8 to 10 years, a fictitious company named Narrative Data will be able to perform character and personality analysis. Narrative Data will analyze peoples social media accounts and other online activity to determine things such as: productivity, effectiveness, personality type, and various other traits. Then the article goes on to mention Narrative Data is able to identify a particular person suffers from acute migraine headaches. The migraines occur a couple times a month. As a result of this finding, that particular person is not considered for a job opening.

Here are my thoughts. First, is something like this even possible? I would think yes. More importantly, how useful is this analysis? My assumption is that there are no perfect people. If you look long enough you can find flaws with anyone. So, in order to avoid the above situation, a person would have to drastically censor his/her online activity or just withdraw completely from online activities. Then Narrative Data would not be able to find any problems. This situation will lead to the same problem employers have today (not enough information). The above situation in the article is an example of too much information. Given the choice between hiring a slightly flawed person with lots of available information or hiring a person who’s flaws have not yet been revealed because of a lack of information, I would choose the slightly flawed person.

If a company like Narrative Data ever does exist, it is almost certain that the opposite type of companies will start to exist. By that, I mean companies will be created with the intent of helping people hide character traits. That messes up all the analysis.

What are your thoughts? Will something like this exist? Would it really be beneficial?