For good or ill, big data and networks have taken over our lives and, unfortunately, they too often run amok. From the Arab Spring, mediated on Twitter and Facebook, to the NSA spying scandal, to the 2008 financial crash, big data and networks are causing wrenching changes but very rarely can we piece together why, how, or what do to about the problem. Alex “Sandy” Pentland and his team have created a new data science that not only describes how networks of people behave but also creates actionable intelligence from that understanding. Called “Social Physics,” it encapsulates social, analytical, computer, and managerial sciences into a synthesis that allows us to build more resilient and creative societies while at the same time providing greater protection for personal privacy and resistance to cyber attack. Pentland’s new book, SOCIAL PHYSICS: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons from a New Science, is a landmark tour of this new science, offering revolutionary insights into the mysteries of collective intelligence and social influence.
Via Complexity Digest