You may have heard of QAnon, a devil-obsessed conspiracy theory. In 2020, it became a main node of falsehood, flooding social media with misinformation about the pandemic, racist hoaxes against the Black Lives Matter movement, and toxic media designed to bust the presidential election that, despite to the tragicomic assault on the Capitol by the bicorne individual and his hosts, they took Joe Biden to the White House in January 2021. “Open your eyes”, his first message said a few years earlier; “Many in our government worship Satan.” Its catechists maintain that “liberal Satanists” (it seems there are other authoritarian ones) traffic in children from a pizzeria in Washington, in what has come to be called Pizzagate. The vast majority of these messages were signed “Q”. Who is Q?
A geneticist can predict a lot of things just by reading your genome: whether you are a plant or an animal, an arthropod or a mammal, a rodent or a primate, or a human, and then what is your geographic or ethnic origin, your disease propensity and some of your psychological tendencies. Someday it will be possible to deduce your face from your genetic text. But identifying yourself by your writing style seems to be outside the scope of this science.
Two independent teams of forensic linguists believe they have identified Q, reports The New York Times. Speculations about his identity are copious. Maybe it’s Paul Furber, a developer of software and South African technology journalist. Or maybe Ron Watkins, a Republican politician now running for Congress from Arizona. A pair of polls indicate that millions of Americans believe that Q is a high-ranking military officer who has discovered that former President Donald Trump fought a battle against pedophile Democrats to save the world. Forensic linguists have cleared those mists with the first empirical tests. The journalist Furber writes the same as Q. Then it is Q, even though he denies it.
Linguists have always had resources to analyze the syntax, vocabulary, and style of one text in comparison to another. let’s remember Pygmalionthe play by Bernard Shaw, or its adaptation to the cinema my fair lady, where Professor Henry Higgins can tell what neighborhood of London a character comes from, or if he was in India in the previous decade, just by hearing him speak and to the astonishment of passers-by. Current linguistics uses the latest machine learning techniques (machine learning), a series of algorithms that learn from experience, to identify very subtle patterns in an individual’s handwriting, so subtle that even Professor Higgins could not pick them up with the help of his prodigious brain alone. One of the new studies is from the start up Swiss OrphAnalytics, and the other by French computational linguists Florian Cafiero and Jean-Baptiste Camps. The reliability of his techniques exceeds 90%, and sometimes reaches 99%.
Your genes define your face, and your way of writing gives away your identity. Anonymity is becoming a myth.
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