How Social Networks Shape Human Behavior...and Vice Versa

December 8, 2011
2:50 pm - 4:00 pm
Halligan 111A

Abstract

Increased productivity and creative output lie in understanding how social networks - face-to-face and digital - shape the behavior both of employees and customers. By use of the `big data' collected by my research group's unique `reality mining' sensor platforms, we can measure the behavior of hundreds of people in great detail and over long periods of time, and build mathematical models that provide accurate predictions of human decision making performance across a wide range of scales...team, organization, and even city. We can also use these models to more effectively shape social behaviors, as illustrated by our win of DARPA's 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge. As a consequence of these new capabilities personal data is becoming ever more valuable, and also more dangerous. To address this concern I will describe my work with the World Economic Forum that has lead to the emergence of a new personal data framework.

Bio: Alex `Sandyí Pentland directs MITís Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, and advises the World Economic Forum, Nissan Motor Corporation, and a variety of start-up firms. He has previously helped create and direct MITís Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospitalís Center for Future Health.

Sandy is one of the world's most-cited computer scientists, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, mobile computing, image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has recently been featured in Nature, Science, the World Economic Forum, Harvard Business Review, and the popular press.