Hunch's Predict-o-matic game shows what your Facebook profile reveals about you


No matter how many privacy controls Facebook rolls out, most users on the site seem perfectly comfortable sharing the most intimate details of their lives with the entire world. But a new Facebook game shows that even information that you don't actively share might be relatively easy to guess. For a savvy computer algorithm, that is

The idea behind Hunch's Predict-o-matic is pretty simple: the program tries to guess how you'll respond to a series of multiple choice questions (you can peek at the predictions if you're worried the game is cheating). The Predict-o-matic generates its guesses by looking at your public "likes" on Facebook, using them to figure out what other things you're likely to like as well. As you answer more questions, Predict-o-matic learns even more about you, and its guesses theoretically get more accurate.

What's surprising isn't the idea, but the execution. In my short play test of the game, it predicted my answer correctly over 80 percent of the time. Sure, some of the information seemed pretty obvious, such as the fact that I don't have nay children in the house (none are listed in my profile, after all) or the fact that I've downloaded music without paying for it (who of my generation hasn't, really)?

But the Predict-o-matic discerned some factoids about my life that simply shocked me. How did the game know, for instance, that I could read sheet music? Or that I don't know how to draw well? Or that I don't own a bird feeder? What in the world is it about my Facebook profile that screams "no bird feeder"?

Of course, the technology isn't perfect. The game mistakenly thought that I like Jell-o shots (yuck) and that I had never dated outside my race (I'm insulted!). Still, these wrong answers came much less frequently than the creepily accurate ones. It's enough to make you want to get off Facebook and hide in a cave for the rest of your life. Or to keep playing for another hour...

Originally published