Thursday, August 18, 2011

SXSW Talk Proposal

My SXSW plug:
I proposed a talk for the upcoming SXSW based on my PhD research and the work we are doing at the Human Dynamics group at the MIT Media Lab. I think its going to be awesome, and I'm not biased at all.
Details below, Please Vote!

Investigating Social Mechanisms with Mobile Phones
Imagine an imaging chamber placed around an entire community. What if we could, with permission, record and display nearly every facet of behavior, communication, and social interaction among its members as they live their everyday life? This potential would afford rich insights into humanity - how societies operate, how real world relationships form and change over time, and how behavior and choices spread from one person to another. We could diagnose the health of a community, and of its individuals. We could even measure the effects of feeding this information back to them.

At the MIT Media Lab, we have built the beginnings of what we call “The Social MRI.” You don’t need a huge chamber – just a bunch of modern smartphones. Using our mobile sensing software, we transformed a residential community into a living laboratory for over 15 months. Many signals were collected from each participant, altogether comprising what is, to date, the richest real-world dataset of its kind. As part of our continuing research, we are developing new tools to realize "the quantified self", and architectures to do all of this from a user centric perspective – where individuals own their data, and privacy is embedded into the framework.

This talk will highlight surprising results from the study, introduce our open source tools developed for data collection, and discuss how the lessons learned could extend to improve the consumer and business worlds.

Questions The Talk Will Answer:
  • How can we design new mechanisms of social support (e.g. for increasing physical activity), and measure their performance with a real community?
  • How can mobile phones be used to infer real-world social signals, relationships, and other personal and group characteristics?
  • How is it possible to preserve user privacy while still enabling today’s data collection and advertising-driven business models?
  • Who has more influence over the mobile apps that you install on your phone – your friends on Facebook, your “real” friends, or the people you just hang out with?
  • What tools can we provide to developers and researchers to build apps for smart mobile sensing that are both secure and battery efficient?

Vote for My SXSW Idea!


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