Social Physics: How Social Networks Can Make Us Smarter

Social Physics: How Social Networks Can Make Us Smarter

by Alex Pentland


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143126331
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 567,778
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alex "Sandy" Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program and co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives. He helped create and direct MIT’s Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital’s Center for Future Health. His research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than thirty companies to date. In 2012 Forbes named Pentland one of the seven most powerful data scientists in the world. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Origin of the Book vii

Acknowledgments xi

1 From Ideas to Actions

Using Big Data to Understand How Human Societies Evolve 1

What Is Social Physics? 4

A Practical Science 6

Big Data 8

A Rich Social Science 10

Plan for the book 15

Data-Rich Societies: Promethean Fire 17

Special Topic: Language 19

Part I Social Physius

2 Exploration

How Can We Find Good Ideas and Make Good Decisions? 25

Social Learning 29

Idea Flow 32

Idea Flow and Decision Making 34

Tuning Networks 38

Exploration 39

3 Idea Flow

The Building Blocks of Collective Intelligence 43

Habits, Preferences, and Curiosity 46

Habits versus Beliefs 55

Collectively Rational, Not Individually Rational 58

Common Sense 60

4 Engagement

How Can We All Work Together? 62

Social Pressure 65

Digital Engagement 70

Subjugation and Conflict 75

Rules of Engagement 77

Next Steps 79

Special Topic: The Mathematics of Social Influence

Part II Idea Machines

5 Collective Intelligence

How Patterns of Interaction Translate into Collective Intelligence 87

Measuring What You Manage 92

Productivity 93

Creativity 96

Improving Idea Flow 103

6 Shaping Organizations

Social Intelligence Through Visualization of Interaction Patterns 105

Engagement 108

Exploration 112

Diversity 114

Social Intelligence 116

7 Organizational Change

Social Network Incentives Can Be Used to Create Instant Organizations and Guide Them Through Disruptive Change 120

Instant Organizations 124

Organizations in Stress 127

Trust 128

Next Steps 131

Special Topic: Social Signals 131

Part III Data-Rich Cities

8 Sensing Cities

How Mobile Sensing Can Enable Cities to Become More Healthy, Safe, and Efficient 137

Visualizing the City 140

Transportation 144

Health and Disease 145

Social Network Interventions 150

Living in a Data-Rich Society 153

9 City Science

How Social Physics and Big Data Are Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Cities and Development 155

The Social Physics of Cities 156

Social Ties in Cities 157

Exploring the City 160

Idea Flow in Cities 165

Designing Better Cities 167

Data-Rich Cities 170

Next Steps 171

Special Topic: Digital Networks Versus Face-To-Face 172

Part IV Data-Rich Societies

10 Privacy

What Will a Data-Rich Future Look Like? 177

A New Deal on Data 180

Enforcement 182

The Wild, Wild Weh 183

Data-Rich Systems: Challenges 184

Social Physics: Promoting Free Will and Human Dignity 189

11 Living with Data

How Social Physics Might Help Us Design a Human-Centric, Data-Rich Society 193

Natural Law: Exchanges, Not Markets 199

Living in a Networked Society 203

Data for Development: D4D 212

Summary: Promethean Fire 215


Reality Mining 217

Openpds 225

Fast, Slow, and Free Will 235

Math 241

Notes 265

References 279

Index 295

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