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SBP11 Day 1

I am in University of Maryland, College Park this week for the 2011 International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction (SBP11) Conference. The Conference is nice to call those attendees without computer science background like me the “domain experts” because we bring our domain knowledge (hospitality management in my case) to the field.


I attended two tutorials on the first day (March 28). I like Dr. Alex “Sandy” Pentland’s mobile sensor project at MIT. His team uses “mobile sensors” or cell phones to collect data about actual human interactions. The data --- “signals” --- can help researchers predict people’s social relationships among groups, organizational structures, participants’ daily routine, and behaviors.

I have to admit that I do not know computer science or Dr. Pentland’s work well. However, I can see an even brighter future of the mobile device market. Have you imagined that you can predict your customers’ purchasing behaviors? How about anticipating customers’ needs without even asking the customers? As a researcher, instead of measuring people’s intentions in a survey, how do you like the idea of collecting and owning the data of people’s real behaviors?

Stay tuned for SBP11 Day 2. Dr. Bei Yu and I co-authored a paper entitled Toward Predicting Popularity of Social Marketing Messages in this conference, which will be presented in Day 3.

Comments

  1. Josephine PimentelMarch 29, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    With the recent smart phone take over it is not surprising that businesses are using data collection from customer patterns based on purchases made from their phones. Nearly half the population of cell phone users have smart phones, I myself being one of them and I can vouch that it is a convenient and easy to use form of technology. I think companies will benefit from this technology because they will be able to track and cater to customer trends without having to ask the customers directly through menial surveys that most people do not take the time to fill out thoroughly. The only issue I see with this recent development in technology is the issue of privacy and security. Now that companies will have complete access to our buying trends and credit card/bank information, it leaves hackers and people who may accidentally lose their phones at risk. Also some people may not feel comfortable with having certain business' tracking their daily routine and behaviors. These "mobile sensors" may give some cell phone users the feeling that their basic privacy rights are being violated if say for instance they do not want to make available to others what they or purchasing or what their daily patterns are.

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  2. Thank you for pointing out a very good point, Josephine Pimentel! You are absolutely right. I am not sure if I will opt in one of this surveys myself. Meanwhile, Dr. Pentland discussed how researchers need to take away of the personal information of the smartphone uers before analyzing data. Also, he discussed how his project allows (or will allow) participants to control what personal information they want to share with the researchers.

    I have to agree with you the privacy issues and policy are a big issue. Social scientists need to get involved. It is such an multi-disciplinary subject.

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