31 July 2016

What Race and Astrology Tell Us About Our True Inner Selves

From Datacalysm by Christian Rudder:
On OkCupid, one of the easiest ways to compare a black person and a white person (or any two people of any race) is to look at their "match percentage." That's the site's term for compatibility. It asks users a bunch of questions, they give answers, and an algorithm predicts how well any two of them would get along over, say, a beer or dinner. Unlike other features on OkCupid, there is no visual component to match percentage. The number between two people only reflects what you might call their inner selves - everything about what they believe, need, and want, even what they think is funny, but nothing about what they look like. Judging by just this compatibility measure, the four largest racial groups on OkCupid - Asian, black, Latino, and white - all get along about the same. In fact, race has less effect on match percentage than religion, politics, or education. Among the details that users believe are important, the closest comparison to race is Zodiac sign, which has no effect at all. To a computer not acculturated to the categories, "Asian" and "black" and "white" could just as easily be "Aries" and "Virgo" and "Capricorn."
So, how do race and astrology define us? About as much as we or other people believe they do. Which could be a lot .... or not at all.

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