Reality Mining: Using Big Data to Engineer a Better World

Reality Mining: Using Big Data to Engineer a Better World

by Nathan Eagle, Kate Greene

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Overview

A look at how Big Data can be put to positive use, from helping users break bad habits to tracking the global spread of disease.

Big Data is made up of lots of little data: numbers entered into cell phones, addresses entered into GPS devices, visits to websites, online purchases, ATM transactions, and any other activity that leaves a digital trail. Although the abuse of Big Data—surveillance, spying, hacking—has made headlines, it shouldn't overshadow the abundant positive applications of Big Data. In Reality Mining , Nathan Eagle and Kate Greene cut through the hype and the headlines to explore the positive potential of Big Data, showing the ways in which the analysis of Big Data (“Reality Mining”) can be used to improve human systems as varied as political polling and disease tracking, while considering user privacy.

Eagle, a recognized expert in the field, and Greene, an experienced technology journalist, describe Reality Mining at five different levels: the individual, the neighborhood and organization, the city, the nation, and the world. For each level, they first offer a nontechnical explanation of data collection methods and then describe applications and systems that have been or could be built. These include a mobile app that helps smokers quit smoking; a workplace “knowledge system”; the use of GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile phone data to manage and predict traffic flows; and the analysis of social media to track the spread of disease. Eagle and Greene argue that Big Data, used respectfully and responsibly, can help people live better, healthier, and happier lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262529839
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 10/07/2016
Series: The MIT Press
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,208,005
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Wired Smart List, is the cofounder and CEO of Jana, a company that helps global brands reach customers in emerging markets via mobile airtime. He holds faculty positions at Harvard and Northeastern Universities.

Harvard Review , Slate , Discover , The Economist , and the New Yorker , among other publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I The Individual (One Person)

1 Mobile Phones, Sensors, and Lifelogging: Collecting Data from Individuals While Considering Privacy 9

2 Using Personal Data in a Privacy-Sensitive Way to Make a Person's Life Easier and Healthier 31

II The Neighborhood and the Organization (10 to 1,000 People)

3 Gathering Data from Small Heterogeneous Groups 53

4 Engineering and Policy: Building More Efficient Businesses, Enabling Hyperlocal Politics, Life Queries, and Opportunity Searches 69

III The City (1,000 to 1,000,000 People)

5 Traffic Data, Crime Stats, and Closed-Circuit Cameras: Accumulating Urban Analytics 85

6 Engineering and Policy: Optimizing Resource Allocation 99

IV The Nation (1 Million to 100 Million People)

7 Taking the Pulse of a Nation: Census, Mobile Phones, and Internet Giants 111

8 Engineering and Policy: Addressing National Sentiment, Economic Deficits, and Diasters 125

V Reality Mining the World's Data (100 Million to 7 Billion People)

9 Gathering the World's Data: Global Census, International Travel and Commerce, and Planetary-Scale Communicaiton 143

10 Engineering a Safer and Healthier World 153

Conclusion 165

Notes 169

Index 191

What People are Saying About This

Kenneth Cukier

A smart look at how Big Data transforms our lives, from the microcosm of the individual to the macrocosm of the planet. Eagle's pioneering research in data-mining human behavior is inspiring, while Greene's insights on what it all means make Reality Mining an indispensable book. And importantly, privacy issues are not an afterthought but are interlaced throughout—as it should be.

Endorsement

A smart look at how Big Data transforms our lives, from the microcosm of the individual to the macrocosm of the planet. Eagle's pioneering research in data-mining human behavior is inspiring, while Greene's insights on what it all means make Reality Mining an indispensable book. And importantly, privacy issues are not an afterthought but are interlaced throughout—as it should be.

Kenneth Cukier, coauthor of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

From the Publisher

We look at digital devices as things that are meant to serve us. In Reality Mining we are taken on a journey from individuals to countries, to illustrate the true transformative power that the collective use of these digital devices brings to humanity. A fascinating trip guided by researchers who have successfully bridged discovery with entrepreneurship!

Albert-László Barabási , Robert Gray Doge Professor of Network Science, Northeastern University; author of Linked

A smart look at how Big Data transforms our lives, from the microcosm of the individual to the macrocosm of the planet. Eagle's pioneering research in data-mining human behavior is inspiring, while Greene's insights on what it all means make Reality Mining an indispensable book. And importantly, privacy issues are not an afterthought but are interlaced throughout—as it should be.

Kenneth Cukier , coauthor of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

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