Tag Archives: Irish names

Diasporas, a region’s best ambassadors for FDI, Innovation, Tourism

Richard Bruton, Ireland ‎Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, is in Paris today to meet with Emmanuel Macron, France Minister for Economy, Industry and Digital to discuss the jobs market.

In today’s French Newspaper LeMonde.fr, you’ll find two articles discussing Ireland’s restored growth, the first one co-written by NamSor inventor Elian Carsenat,

No doubt, Mr Macron will be curious of Ireland’s success in attracting so many US corporates and startups to Dublin, as well as so many talents (including from France). It’s not just the fundamentals : networking with the Irish Diaspora abroad and with foreigners in Ireland play a critical part. Digital networking (using LinkedIn, Twitter and the likes) is also taken seriously. You’ll find Ireland’s freshly released Diaspora strategy document below.

Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy is available online in English and Irish. Global Irish is the first clear statement of Government policy on the diaspora.  It defines the Government’s role to both drive and foster diaspora engagement and sets out a number of actions to achieve our vision of a vibrant, diverse global Irish community, connected to Ireland and to each other. You may also wish to have a look at the new Global Irish website

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The #FrenchTech is at its best at #SXSW

StartupBRICS, the blog tank of innovation in the emerging market, gave a talk in Austin on their amazing experience #TECHAfrique, Innovation & Startup Tour in Africa and announced live on SXSW Interactive stage the launch of diasruption.co

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European designer of name recognition software. NamSor is committed to promote diversity and equal opportunity. NamSor launched NamSor Gender API, a free API to extract gender from personal names and NamSor Origin API. We believe NamSor API Key can help unlock the value of diversity worldwide. http://www.namsor.com

About FDIMagnet,

FDIMagnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services:

–   Diaspora Direct Investments (DDI)

–   Smart Investors Targeting & CRM

–   FDI Targeted Communication

Follow @FDIMagnet, join the LinkedIn group or email us at contact@fdimagnet.com

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Revealing the Irish, French, Indonesian digital diasporas

An Irish Times @GenerationEmigration reblog

NamSor technology has mapped the location of Irish-owned Twitter accounts around the world.
To access the interactive map, click here: http://cdb.io/1h8kTDG


Elian Carsenat and Michel Fortin

Before Christmas, we came to Ireland to present NamSor, a piece of name recognition software which uncovered the Irish ‘digital diaspora’ for the first time. This interactive world map of the Irish, French and Indonesian e-Diasporas was produced using Twitter account data.

Twitter is an interesting data source because about 3 per cent of Twitter accounts opt-in to show their Tweet location (using GPS from a smartphone) and can be visualised on a map. We were interested to visualise the Irish digital diaspora, not just in the US and the UK, but globally. Our assumption was that the Irish themselves are familiar with the history and sociology of the Irish diaspora in the US and the UK (and such organisations like IDA Ireland and Tourism Ireland have been successful in leveraging those), but what about Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia? It is interesting to see how large and dispersed the Irish diaspora is in the US, and how small and concentrated it is in populous Indonesia.


The scientific jargon for this special data mining is applied onomastics. We’ve worked with many different databases before, using onomastics for a specific purpose. For example, to help the Lithuanian Investment Promotion Agency understand the sociology of its diaspora and attract foreign direct investments (FDI), we’ve data mined Factiva C&E, a large database of company directors worldwide. We’ve also analysed PubMed, a scientific database used by doctors and biotechnology researchers, to recognise where international talent flows in that competitive field.

We spent a lot of time in Dublin with Kingsley Aikins, chief executive of Diaspora Matters, who is well known internationally in the diaspora field and has worked with many other countries as well as Ireland.

He believes the product could be a real game changer in the diaspora field and could help answer the perennial question all countries ask about their diasporas – who are they, where are they and what are they doing. He believes that we now live in a networked age and the key to success of diaspora engagement is in building global networks. Namsor will help find these people and enable new diaspora networks to be developed.

He also referred to the emerging global war for talent and how diasporas are going to be critically important sources of talent. Countries who know and keep in touch with their diasporas will have a competitive advantage. This will apply not only to those wishing to return to their home country but also to those wishing to be involved and help with DDI (Diaspora Direct Investment). Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia have already introduced initiatives in these areas.

We were impressed with the success of the Gathering, bringing several hundred thousand people to Ireland. This is an innovative initiative and must have strengthened the bonds between the Irish diaspora and Ireland.

There may not be such thing as a ‘French diaspora’, but we see more and more French people going abroad, especially the young and talented seeking an international experience. We’ve seen a lot of them in Dublin! Our impression is that the French abroad don’t really know or help each other as effectively as in other cultures, such as the Irish. French diplomats, large companies, entrepreneurs established abroad, exporting SMEs, professors and students all seem to live in separate worlds. France could learn a lot from what Ireland is doing.

NamSor Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of name recognition software (NamSor sorts names), which aims to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people. namsor.com

Diaspora Matters is a consultancy company based in Dublin advising governments, companies, organisations and individuals on how to develop strategies and programmes to connect with their Diasporas. diasporamatters.com

This article was inspired by and original article published in onomastics.co.uk

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What’s in a Twitter name? A glance at the Irish digital Diaspora

To jump directly to the interactive map, click here : http://cdb.io/1beWaVB

(onomastics.co.uk reblog)

It’s been a while since I published a first ‘Feature of the Month’ in onomastics.co.uk and I can measure the progress made. The article, published in March 2013, showed maps of French and English investments in Africa, established by recognizing the names of Company Directors, instead of the traditional measurement of capital flows (FDI).

At the time, NamSor Applied Onomastics software was new and I was still exploring how such data mining tool, which recognizes personal names, could be useful. I was uncertain whether the social benefits would exceed the risks inherent to such powerful technology.

Names are a Code and contain a lot of information about an individual, but there is no determinism. Human groups of different levels can be recognized through names, but human societies are fractals. Each group can be broken down again and again, from different angles. A first name,  a last name, a Twitter handle are part of a person’s identity and may indicate a social intent, the belonging to an ethnic/linguistic group, a geographic origin, beliefs, … however at the finest grain level, every individual is unique and an exception to the group.

Genetic code, at one point, was thought to contain all the information needed to ‘build’ an individual from the physical point of view. After years of research, it seems that part of the information and the ‘algorithm’ are elsewhere…  Still there is huge interest in applied research such as 23andMe that ‘decrypt’ the genetic code to provide insights into a person’s ancestry, as well as hints about potential health issues.

The Name Code and the Genetic Code share the same ability to fascinate : each can somehow statistically be recognized to have an influence on your life, social status, average income, career… both relate to a family history. Each Code can be misleading and yet insightful. Fleur Pellerin, the French SME & ICT Minister, was born Kim Jong-suk in South Korea. She is both truly French and truly Korean, one name indicating a culture, the other a phenotype and genetic heritage. Considering only the Genetic Code would be denying a part of our humanity, which comes from being a child, a teenager, experiencing life, interacting socially, being part of a country and a culture, making one’s choices.

Twin studies would tell a lot about the links between those two codes (Name, Genetic) – if only there were more twins. Even though identical twins possess the same genetic makeup, they may go through different experiences throughout their lives that shape their personality, behaviour, and psychopathology in ways that make them unique relative to each other (Hughes et al., 2005). Twins will have a different first name.  Twins might also have a different last name, if -hypothetically- one twin was raised in Russia and the other twin was adopted and raised in the United States. In that case, what would the Name Code and the Genetic Code tell about potential Health issues (smoking or alcohol addiction, obesity & diabetes, life expectancy, etc.) ?

An article published last month caught my eye ‘Scientists seek volunteers willing to have genetic code published on internet‘: the hunt is on for 100,000 British volunteers to post their genetic information online in the name of science, as a North American open-access DNA project arrives in Europe. Personal Genome Project UK’s mission is ‘to make a wide spectrum of data about humans accessible to increase biological literacy and improve human health‘. The organization recognizes that ‘Even if a person’s name, home address or facial photograph is specifically excluded, a dataset like the one we are building is far from anonymous. It is simply too easy for someone to connect the dots and reveal a person’s identity.’ Genetic Code is a very personal data. Would you like to see yours published along with your Name Code and Identity? Yet if the identity of participants can be protected, I can see huge scientific value in such Open Data.

The Name Code, as such, is not personal data. Personal data is all information about yourself, that you should be allowed to keep confidential. A name is given to you as a communication tool, to interact with the World. There is a social intent in giving a child a common name, or a rare name that will more immediately identify a person – though I believe that one should be allowed to change names, just as Casanova did (who named himself Chevalier de Seingalt). There are legitimate reasons to keep one’s name and identity secret sometimes: you should be free to do so, unless that freedom infringes on someone else’s rights. A personal name (except possibly when it becomes a trademark) doesn’t belong to anyone : it’s been used before, it’ll be used again, it’s often shared by several people, it’s found in the press, it’s made up for fiction books … Could a democracy work without the citizen knowing their politicians’ names? How could historians do their research if we were to erase all personal names from the archives?

We see potential social benefits in applied onomastics and name data mining, that clearly exceed the risks of misuse : not just in social sciences research, but also in economic development, tourism, marketing, health, urban planning … We’ve helped one EU country reach out to its Diaspora in the US to originate foreign direct investments (FDI) and create jobs. We’re currently helping a BioTech scientific cluster raise its game through better understanding where the talents lay in that field, and where the brain juice flows internationally. We’re trying to find local partners to launch AgroDiaspora, an economic development initiative in Africa to foster stronger links between Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Projects and top-level BioTech scientists of African heritage, who could help make local plants climate-change resistant, among other benefits. We are also very excited and enthusiastic about a paper we submitted to ICOS 2014, the XXV International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, which will take place in Glasgow in August – as we foresee very positive outcome from that research.

In last month onomastics.co.uk feature ‘The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain‘, Eleanor Rye mentions a very interesting research into what surname-based sampling can reveal about historic male migrations in the UK and Ireland.

We are currently conducting similar applied research on Twitter. I love Twitter. The freedom to choose one’s handle and name. The limited amount of structured information that goes with an account : a location, a language, a short profile, a few pictures. What’s in a Twitter name or handle? Anything : real names, company names, fancy names, pictograms, … the amount of information produced through Twitter is enormous, but it’s possible to filter this ‘bigdata’ in a way to make sense of it. We created geographic maps of e-Diasporas, by recognizing the Twitter names of geotagged tweets: Irish, Swedish, Russian, etc. We call this Twitter GEOnomastics, borrowing a term from Dr. Evgeny Shokhenmayer. Below is the map of the Irish e-Diaspora, along with Swedish and Russian.

Irish Twitter GEOnomastics

Irish Twitter GEOnomastics

Click here to access the interactive map:

How does it work? The software accurately recognizes that ‘NamSor Applied Onomastics’ (@NomTri) is probably a trade mark or a company name, whereas ‘Elian Carsenat’ (@ElianCarsenat) is probably a personal name – and most likely a French name. Fancy names are also recognized and filtered out.

We see wide applications of such maps. When Captain James Cook explored the seas in the 18th century, having accurate maps could mean life or death for a ship and its crew. Working out latitude had been known for centuries, but measuring longitude was still tricky and inaccurate. In today’s digital world, I see latitude as ‘recognizing the semantics’ in a message expressed in a particular language and longitude as ‘recognizing the culture’ of the target audience. We’re full of curiosity on how and to whom this map can be useful, possibly Twitter itself. We’re going from Paris to Dublin in two weeks to find out : we hope to meet people at Twitter European Headquarters. Twitter just issued its IPO but is also not clear how to make its money. We’ll also meet Irish urban planners, people working in the tourism industry, investment analysts and Diaspora experts.

Read our next posts to discover more Twitter GEOnomastics maps showing Irish, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Swedish, Italian, Dutch e-Diasporas (or cultural influence).

NB. The maps are currently interactive, so you can zoom in and out of a particular territory, however this may be shut down in a month or two.

[onomastics.co.uk | get a pdf version | academia.edu] Related : Can name data mining help economic development?

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