Can Science Discover Your Personality Blueprint, Your Psychometric Index?
A Sci-Fi Classic & A Powerful Neural Net Computer May Be The Keys To Cracking Your Code
Still In The Scientific Dusk Age
We like to think that we’re scientifically advanced, living in a world of high technology, but I think that’s wrong. That’s what people thought in 1915 and we laugh now at how naive they were.
In 1947 people thought that the invention of the atomic bomb meant that they were finally in the scientific age. Atomic airplanes were just around the corner.
And today we think the same thing. But, I don’t buy it. To me, while maybe we’re not still bumbling around in the dark of the night but we’re still at least fumbling in the shadows. But real daybreak may be closer than you think.
For example, you ask?
Defining Your Psychometric Index
Well, for one thing we don’t yet have the technology that lets us effectively determine the DNA-analog of human personalities. A reliable system for charting a person’s Psychometric Index does not today exist.
While Business Insider is full of articles about what job interview questions should be asked and how to answer them and how to write and evaluate a resume, we’re still releasing model prisoners who assure us that they have leaned their lesson only have a material percentage of them steal and rape again.
The world’s most skilled psychologists are, I think, little better than fifteenth-century witch doctors when it comes to determining a person’s hidden motives and secret psychological drives.
But some Google research may have finally unlocked the door that will let us escape the prison of our ignorance, or at least figure out where the door is.
What Google research?
The Neural Net Tool
Google fed a neural net computer millions of pictures and let the system train itself to recognize the objects in those photos. Essentially, Google built a machine that digested massive amounts of raw data and learned how to use that data to identify the images it contained.
This neural-net, self-learning technology may possibly be part of the solution to understanding, or at least better discerning the shapes and dimensions of human personalities.
Jack Vance’s Novel, Marune 933
Another part of that solution, I think, may have its roots in Jack Vance’s 1975 classic sci-fi novel, Marune 933.
In that book the hero’s memories were erased and he is found abandoned on a backwater planet with no idea of who he is or where he came from. Eventually the hero, Pardero, makes his way to the Connatic’s Hospital on Numenes, the seat of government for the thousands of worlds comprising the Alastor Cluster.
At the hospital technicians fit Pardero with receptors, sensors and contacts.
“To Pardero’s eyes and ears were presented scenes and sounds: a sunlit forest, surf breaking upon a beach, a meadow sprinkled with flowers, a mountain valley roaring in a winter storm; a sunset, a starry night, a view over a calm ocean, a city street, a road winding over placid hills, a spaceship.
“Pardero saw a campfire surrounded by shadowy figures, a beautiful nude maiden, a corpse dangling from a gibbet, a warrior in black steel armor galloping on a horse, a parade of harlequins and clowns, a sailboat plunging through the waves, three old ladies sitting on a bench.
“A series of musical sounds entered Pardero’s ears: a pair of chords, several orchestral essays, a fanfare, music of a harp, a jig, and a merrydown.
“A stern and grizzled man stared at Pardero, a child, a middle-aged woman, a girl, a face twisted into a sneer, a boy laughing, a man in pain, a woman weeping.
“Pardero saw boats, chariots, land vehicles, aircraft, spaceships. . . . a hand, a face, a tongue, a nose, an abdomen, male and female genital organs, an eye, an open mouth, buttocks, a foot. . . .
“Patterns appeared before Pardero’s vision: combinations of lines, geometric shapes, numbers, linguistic characters, a clenched fist, a pointing finger, a foot with small wings growing from the ankles.”
Hours later when the sensations stopped, the technician told him:
“We have recorded your psychometrics and now can establish your so-called Cultural Index. . . . A pattern has appeared. . . . you are a Rhune from the Rhune realms, east of Port Mar on the north continent of Marune, Alastor, 933.”
Hence the book’s title, Marune 933.
Essentially, Vance’s story suggests that with sufficient data — heartbeat, blood pressure, pupil dilation, skin conductance and capacitance, breath rate, muscle tension, and possibly several other biological factors as well — correlated with sufficient sensory inputs — widely variable still and video images, sounds, odors, colors, textures and pressures — all digested by a powerful neural-net computer, the key, deep-seated personality attributes of even a total amnesiac can be revealed.
But is such an insight into the human personality anything more than a flight of science-fiction fantasy? No one knows. Yet.
But we can find out. I propose an experiment.
The Serial Killer Experiment
We create a suite of sensors for heartbeat, blood pressure, pupil dilation, skin conductance and capacitance, etc. and apply them to a test subject. We connect the output from those sensors to the type of neural-net system that Google trained to recognize objects in photographs. Next, we assemble several hours of data to be fed to the human subject — pictures, videos, smells, textures, lights in various intensities and colors, hot and cold air, etc.
We get the Federal Bureau of Prisons to, one at a time, loan us fifteen or twenty known serial killers and we sequentially strap them into the machine and run them through the program while the neural net watches and records all their reactions.
When the training has been completed we program the neural net to discard the data inputs that yielded no common responses across the set of known serial-killer subjects.
Then we run the program again with fifteen or twenty people whom we are absolutely sure have never killed anyone and, again, at the end we have the system remove the irrelevant data inputs for this non-serial-killer group.
We next feed the machine the data from a new set of mixed serial killer and non-serial-killer subjects, each of whom are exposed to the sum of both reduced data sets, and we see if it the system can separate the sheep from the goats, so to speak.
Of course it won’t get it perfectly right the first time. But if we keep on training and training and training perhaps the machine will become very good at both including and excluding individuals from the class of serial killers.
The next time the police have a suspect in a serial-killer investigation we get him or her to take the test and the results will include or exclude him/her as the possible offender to some determined level of statistical accuracy.
More Uses For The Technology
If this works, of course serial killers would be just the beginning. We could extend the training to thieves and criminals of all types. Wouldn’t you want to be able to identify a potential embezzler before you gave him or her the password to your accounting system?
And, of course, this technology would be a boon in determining which inmates should be paroled or sent back to their cells.
Do you want to hire a new CEO? Have the candidates take the test against a data set that was derived from the best and worst executives HumanScore (I made up a name for the leading company in the field) could find.
In fact, why limit it to executives? Corporations could test all potential employees to weed out incipient cheats, thieves, and troublemakers.
Naturally, we would want to use such a system in law enforcement. We certainly don’t want violence-prone bullies, thieves or pathological liars carrying a badge and a gun.
I bet the CIA, NSA, DIA and the like would be very interested in a data set that could weed out potential traitors and moles.
What about politicians? Narcissistic, corrupt, megalomaniacs need not apply. Sorry, Donald.
Criminal defendants? Shouldn’t we give the test to a criminal defendant to determine if he or she is the sort of person who could or could not have committed a crime like the one with which they were charged?
And judges. Let’s not forget judges and potential jury members too. Getting the right people in the right job is vitally important.
Your Psychometric Index Joins Your Social Security Number & DNA Code
Actually, we could test everybody when they hit sixteen and then every two or three years thereafter. We could store their Psychometric Index and update it regularly.
A More Efficient World
That set of numbers, the Psychometric Index, could then guide all citizens to the occupational slot that would be most efficient for them. In that way people could be trained for the jobs they were suited for and deterred from those they weren’t. A key for every lock.
So, I put it to you that though we’re obviously still in, if not the dark ages of human technology, we’re at least wandering around in the twilight gloom, but, hope is on the horizon.
A new day is about to dawn.
Are you as excited as I am?
–David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)