A planetary nervous system for social mining

A planetary nervous system for social mining and collective awareness (Giannotti et alii, 2012)


“We present a research roadmap of a Planetary Nervous System (PNS), capable of sensing and mining the digital breadcrumbs of human activities and unveiling the knowledge hidden in the big data for addressing the big questions about social complexity. We envision the PNS as a globally distributed, self-organizing, techno-social system for answering analytical questions about the status of world-wide society, based on three pillars: social sensing, social mining and the idea of trust networks and privacy-aware social mining. We discuss the ingredients of a science and a technology necessary to build the PNS upon the three mentioned pillars, beyond the limitations of their respective state-of-art. Social sensing is aimed at developing better methods for harvesting the big data from the techno-social ecosystem and make them available for mining, learning and analysis at a properly high abstraction level. Social mining is the problem of discovering patterns and models of human behaviour from the sensed data across the various social dimensions by data mining, machine learning and social network analysis”



Exploring affective (computational) interactions (Fibreculture Journal)

The aim of this special issue of the Fibreculture Journal is to address some of the  contemporary challenges involved in working with affect across disciplines and practices that centre on the use of interactive- or digital technologies. The issue has a special focus on interaction design, interaction-based art and digital art. The pivotal question, as we see it, might be framed roughly like this: How do we explore the “field of questioning” that arises when we approach the affective in relation to interaction design, interaction-based art and digital art? What is the use of disciplinary goals when the affective has been proven most valuable in trans-disciplinary theory? Where do we go from here, that is, how can we continue working with the notion of affect, develop it in new theoretical, analytical and practical domains? What key concepts would emerge from this continued trajectory and how would they feed back onto the theoretical propositions? How would they resonate within and with-out existing disciplines, creating novel links and assemblages?



An introduction to social network data analytics

An introduction to social network data analytics (Aggarwal, 2012)

“The advent of online social networks has been one of the most exciting events in this decade. Many popular online social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook have become increasingly popular. In addition, a number of multimedia networks such as Flickr have also seen an increasing level of popularity in recent years. Many such social networks are extremely rich in content, and they typically contain a tremendous amount of content and linkage data which can be leveraged for analysis. The linkage data is essentially the graph structure of the social network and the communications between entities; whereas the content data contains the text, images and other multimedia data in the network. The richness of this network provides unprecedented opportunities for data analytics in the context of social networks. This book provides a data-centric view of online social networks; a topic which has been missing from much of the literature”



Unveiling the complexity of human mobility

Unveiling the complexity of human mobility by querying and mining massive trajectory data (2011)

The technologies of mobile communications pervade our society and wireless networks sense the movement of people, generating large volumes of mobility data, such as mobile phone call records and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracks. In this work, we illustrate the striking analytical power of massive collections of trajectory data in unveiling the complexity of human mobility. We present the results of a large-scale experiment, based on the detailed trajectories of tens of thousands private cars with on-board GPS receivers, tracked during weeks of ordinary mobile activity. We illustrate the knowledge discovery process that, based on these data, addresses some fundamental questions of mobility analysts: what are the frequent patterns of people’s travels? How big attractors and extraordinary events in???uence mobility? How to predict areas of dense traf???c in the near future? How to characterize traf???c jams and congestions?  


From Punched Cards to "Big Data"


Since the diffusion of the punched card tabulator following the 1890 U.S. Census, mass-scale information processing has been alternately a site of opportunity, ambivalence and fear in the American imagination. While large bureaucracies have tended to deploy database technology toward purposes of surveillance and control, the rise of personal computing made databases accessible to individuals and small businesses for the first time. Today, the massive collection of trace communication data by public and private institutions has renewed popular anxiety about the role of the database in society. This essay traces the social history of database technology across three periods that represent significant changes in the accessibility and infrastructure of information processing systems. Although many proposed uses of “big data” seem to threaten individual privacy, a largely-forgotten database populism from the 1970s and 1980s suggests that a reclamation of small-scale data processing might lead to sharper popular critique in the future.


The emergence of modulation


“One very notable effect is that individuals, when using digital media, are always ‘seen’ and, as such, are subject to examination on a constant basis. In the case of a frequent flyer program, for example, a customer’s actions – especially those that generate points such as grocery shopping, flying, using their phone through a specific provider, and so on – are constantly observed and recorded, and the customer is constantly tested to check if they pass the test for moving up or down a rank, of which they are constantly reminded. In the context of digital technologies, in other words, no action is not subject to constant examination in some respect”