According to MIT’s Alex Pentland, humans’ poor organizational skills are “the biggest problem in the world.” But his study of “social physics” may be the solution. In an age of increased digital interconnectivity, human behavior can be easily tracked. From a morning coffee purchase to the GPS path left by a smartphone, “digital breadcrumbs” are leaving a trail of our daily lives. By studying these digital behaviors, Pentland and other scientists can predict whether someone will pay back loans, what they’ll eat for dinner and how they’ll function in a working environment. Named by Forbes as one of “the world’s 7 most powerful data scientists” and author of Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons from a New Science, Pentland outlines how digital behaviors are predictors of social interactions. The Big Data trail of this new science may be beneficial for managers, politicians and society, but could the lack of personal data ownership and identity be dangerous?
Presented by: Town Hall and Elliott Bay Book Company as part of The Seattle Science Lectures, sponsored by Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU.
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Learn more: About the author.