IBM’s Watson Analyzed The ‘Harry Potter’ Books And Films And Found Some Interesting Differences

03.23.16 2 years ago 3 Comments
harry potter books

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As fans are often wont to do, Harry Potter enthusiasts have been known to quibble about the differences between J.K. Rowling’s book series and the blockbuster films they spawned. While the movies certainly capture the feel and the major arcs within the novels, there were certainly some major changes from the source material, leading to objections from more pedantic fans. Well, Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy dominating computer system, analyzed both the texts and the films in order to find the key differences, and, well, there are quite a few in terms of characterization. According to Tech Insider,

By analyzing written text, Watson can identify different tones such as fear, joy, confidence, and openness.

It can also analyze written text to assess personality traits based on the Big Five test, one of the most common, preferred ways psychologists use to measure personality. The test measures where you fit in the spectrum of these five qualities: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

By inputing text into Watson, IBM staff member Vinith Misra was able to highlight some interesting characteristics regarding some of Rowling’s most beloved creations. Here’s what they discovered:

  • Despite being on opposite sides of the hero to villain spectrum, Neville Longbottom and Lord Voldemort both showed similar levels of neuroticism and reticence to change. There was no word on whether or not Voldemort crushed puberty as well as Neville, but I think it’s safe to say that he did not.
  • It’s also safe to say that the horocruxes took their toll on Mr. Potter’s psyche, because Watson found that Harry and Voldemort exhibited similar levels of angry throughout the series. According to Misra, “That’s interesting because, in some ways, he’s a pollyannic character — he’s perfect in lots of ways, but he does have some personality flaws and that would be he is prone to anger.” Losing your parents at a young age and having the fate of the wizarding world thrust onto your shoulders has a tendency to do that.
  • One of the most common complaints about the movie series is that many of Ron Weasley’s more clever and heroic moments are given to Hermione in the films, making him more of a buffoon and her more untouchably perfect. Watson’s data backs this up, highlighting the fact that Ron serves as the comic relief in the core trio for most of the films.

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