The ever-expanding Digital Database of the Mundane

March 19, 2008

The digital database of the mundane is growing, and some researchers have created some interesting ways to dig in and mine the data.  The MIT Technology Review identified Sandy Pentland’s work on “reality mining” as one of the key emerging technologies of 2008.  The primary data for Pentland’s work comes from cell phone logs along with proximity data created through the use of embedded bluetooth sensors.   This data allowed him and his team to, “accurately model the social networks of about 100 MIT students and professors. They could also precisely predict where subjects would meet with members of their networks on any given day of the week.” The original peer-reviewed article (published in 2005!) is available here.

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One Response to “The ever-expanding Digital Database of the Mundane”


  1. This is serious stuff.

    This kind of predictive data is a marketer’s dream (I know, I work in internet marketing to fund my Anthropology Phd on anti-corporate activism!)

    It is also a very profound source of data for social control. If you can predict where people can meet, you can perhaps predict where and when they will protest.

    Any more material on this issue that comes up would be very interesting.


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