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Studying Human Complexity Through Harvested Smartphone Data

Studying Human Complexity Through Harvested Smartphone Data
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The Wall Street Journal reports that numerous researchers are using information gathered from phones to decipher otherwise hidden social patterns, relationships, spending habits, and even political views of their respective owners.

Don Michael Acelar De Leon
  • 27 april 2011

The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that numerous researchers across a variety of platforms are using as much data as they can “harvest” from smartphones to decipher and plot down otherwise hidden social patterns, relationships, spending habits, and even political views of their respective owners. Such data is reportedly captured by calls, motion sensors, proximity sensors, ambient light sensors, cameras, compasses, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Scientists are able to pinpoint “influencers,” the people most likely to make others change their minds. The data can predict with uncanny accuracy where people are likely to be at any given time in the future. Cellphone companies are already using these techniques to predict—based on a customer’s social circle of friends—which people are most likely to defect to other carriers.

The data can reveal subtle symptoms of mental illness, foretell movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and chart the spread of political ideas as they move through a community much like a contagious virus, research shows. In Belgium, researchers say, cellphone data exposed a cultural split that is driving a historic political crisis there.

Wall Street Journal: “The Really Smart Phone”

[via Smart Garden]

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