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以前、「スライスした食パン」についてご紹介したこともある、ニューヨークタイムズの日曜版のシリーズWho Made That、今日は携帯電話でした。

Who Made That Cellphone?

It would be another decade before you could actually buy one. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, left, went on sale in 1983 for about $4,000 — and became a symbol of yuppie excess. In the 1987 movie “Wall Street,” Gordon Gekko strolls on the beach at sunrise and snarls into his brick-size phone, “This is your wake-up call, pal.” Soon enough, everyone else would get the wake-up call, too.

映画ウォールストリートの“This is your wake-up call, pal.”のシーンは有名なようで下記の動画でもレンガ大の携帯電話を持ったマイケルダグラスが語っています。

Oh, jeez, I wish you could see this … the lights coming up. I've never seen a painting that captures the beauty of the ocean in a moment like this. I'm going to make you rich, Bud Fox, rich enough you can afford a girl like Darien. This is your wake up call, pal. Go to work.



Alex Pentland, director of the Human Dynamics Lab at M.I.T., studies cellphone data for clues about our behavior.

The phone tracks our movements, as well as our calls and texts, so it can reveal a lot about our daily lives. What did you learn about yourself by studying your own cellphone data? That I’m very predictable. We tend to pay attention only to the new things in our lives. Meanwhile, our habits are invisible to us. You may say you don’t always eat Tex-Mex food, but if you’re always at the Tex-Mex restaurant, I’d have to disagree.

こういうのはReality Miningと呼ばれるようで、ビッグデータの大きな可能性として期待されている分野のようです。

A Conversation with Alex (Sandy) Pentland [8.30.12]
With Big Data we can now begin to actually look at the details of social interaction and how those play out, and are no longer limited to averages like market indices or election results. This is an astounding change. The ability to see the details of the market, of political revolutions, and to be able to predict and control them is definitely a case of Promethean fire—it could be used for good or for ill, and so Big data brings us to interesting times. We're going to end up reinventing what it means to have a human society.

ALEX 'SANDY' PENTLAND is a pioneer in big data, computational social science, mobile and health systems, and technology for developing countries. He is one of the most-cited computer scientists in the world and was named by Forbes as one of the world's seven most powerful data scientists. He currently directs the

このReality Miningは2008年のMITテクノロジーレビューですでに期待の技術10に選ばれているようでした。

TR10: Reality Mining
Sandy Pentland is using data gathered by cell phones to learn about human behavior.
KATE GREENE, March/April 2008

Every time you use your cell phone, you leave behind a few bits of information. The phone pings the nearest cell-phone towers, revealing its location. Your service provider records the duration of your call and the number dialed.

Some people are nervous about trailing digital bread crumbs behind them. Sandy ­Pentland, however, revels in it. In fact, the MIT professor of media arts and sciences would like to see phones collect even more information about their users, recording everything from their physical activity to their conversational cadences. With the aid of some algorithms, he posits, that information could help us identify things to do or new people to meet. It could also make devices easier to use--for instance, by automatically determining security settings. More significant, cell-phone data could shed light on workplace dynamics and on the well-being of communities. It could even help project the course of disease outbreaks and provide clues about individuals' health. Pentland, who has been sifting data gleaned from mobile devices for a decade, calls the practice "reality mining."

Reality mining, he says, "is all about paying attention to patterns in life and using that information to help [with] things like setting privacy patterns, sharing things with people, notifying people--basically, to help you live your life."


FEBRUARY 25, 2013, 11:05 AM 12 Comments
The Promise and Peril of the ‘Data-Driven Society’

The fine-grained behavioral data, according to Mr. Pentland, opens the way to changing how we think about society and how a society is governed. Adam Smith and Karl Marx, he explains, thought about markets and classes, respectively. “But those are aggregates,” he said. “They’re averages.”

Yet now, Mr. Pentland says, it becomes possible to track social phenomena down to the individual level and the social and economic connections among individuals. The ability to monitor these “micro-patterns,” Mr. Pentland said, means “we’re entering a new era of social physics.”


The New Science of Building Great Teams
by Alex “Sandy” Pentland

Why do some teams consistently deliver high performance while other, seemingly identical teams struggle? Led by Sandy Pentland, researchers at MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory set out to solve that puzzle. Hoping to decode the “It factor” that made groups click, they equipped teams from a broad variety of projects and industries (comprising 2,500 individuals in total) with wearable electronic sensors that collected data on their social behavior for weeks at a time.

With remarkable consistency, the data showed that the most important predictor of a team’s success was its communication patterns. Those patterns were as significant as all other factors—intelligence, personality, talent—combined. In fact, the researchers could foretell which teams would outperform simply by looking at the data on their communication, without even meeting their members.

In this article Pentland shares the secrets of his findings and shows how anyone can engineer a great team. He has identified three key communication dynamics that affect performance: energy, engagement, and exploration. Drawing from the data, he has precisely quantified the ideal team patterns for each. Even more significant, he has seen that when teams map their own communication behavior over time and then make adjustments that move it closer to the ideal, they can dramatically improve their performance.

より具体的にはReality Miningを活用して医療保険をより良いものにしていくという試みもなされつつあるようです。医療費高騰が高騰していく中、健康でいてもらうための仕組みというのがこれまで以上に求められているでしょうから、この分野はこれから伸びそうですね。

6 Innovations That Will Change Healthcare
– Brian Eastwood, CIO
February 18, 2013

1. Reality Mining: Using Data to Influence Healthy Behavior
Using smartphones to collect information about what people are doing and how they are behaving, which Alex "Sandy" Pentland, director of the MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory, describes as "passive monitoring from the things you carry around every day," results in a data set that's "hugely richer than anything you've ever seen before." It's an extension of data mining known as reality mining, and its predictive capabilities seem to know few limits.

For security purposes, information is shared using an "answer architecture" that makes yes-or-no queries of the open personal data store (openPDS) on a user's smartphone, Pentland says, much like the SWIFT platform banks use to exchange information. In this manner, and in accordance with the U.S. Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and the European Union Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, the data belongs to the individual.

Societal patterns and habits inherent in these data sets can predict behavior, such as the likelihood of residents of a certain neighborhood developing diabetes or alcoholism. (Predicting behavior from verbal and visual cues, it turns out, is rather easy; technology that Pentland and his team have developed is used by two large health insurers to screen callers for signs of depression.)

However, if exposure to external forces drives behavior changes, Pentland says, then getting to the root of the problem means changing exposure. Through its research, Pentland's lab reports that social influence—knowing that others are being rewarded for good behavior such as riding a bicycle to the office—is more than three times as effective as simply receiving that reward on an individual basis.

This influence has helped veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, who see that fellow veterans are more active and social and decide to do something about it, but further uses within the highly individualized U.S. healthcare system are only emerging slowly.


“You get elected with Big Data, but you govern without it,” Mr. Hundt said. “How much sense does that make?”