posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 09:44 PM
I hope this is the right spot for this, since it mostly concerns the use of science and technology.
Quantifying the Human Condition:
This is something that I have been thinking about in recent months. I am far from the first I am sure and I already know about a few experiments run
on popular social networks to data mine its members statistical data to form complex social and individual patterns. However, I see this being the
next minor science and there are many factors that could point to this coming into mainstream.
MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are of course the world leaders in social networking, but there are literally hundreds of them that I have encountered,
from small groups to less than successful global networks. Heck, even google, yahoo and MS have them.
Now, there are more and more growing into this arena. Services that let you promote your purchases (what you bought and how much it cost), check in
at your current location, promote your plans and of course as stated above plenty that let people rant about their most recent "whatever" event in
time (often in real time).
Venture Capitalists, Philanthrapists, Investment Firms, and Entrepaneurs world wide are having a field day with this latest craze. They spend
millions a month funding these types of virtual social centers with the hopes that there will be a future with high net returns.
So, lets look down the road and to people much more intelligent that I and see what may come of this.
Social networking in its current evolution is limited in its benefit to the greater good (or bad) because it is not being used as widely as it could
be. However, do we the people of this dirt ball in space want it to be used to its fullest potential?
Think about it this way.
Social Net 1 is a site that you can share games and status updates and simple groups with friends, friends of friends, strangers and friends of
strangers (FFSF). This is little more than a linking of people, events, places, areas of interest, etc.
Social Net 2 lets you update your location in the world at Cheep-Os Super Getitall.
Social Net 3 lets you instantly mass group text a few lines saying "I gotta try this new Widget-O out, gonna get one"
Social Net 4 is a site that lets you share your credit purchased items via online receipt sharing with FFSF. This site doesnt really do much more
than tell person B that person A bought a Widget-O costing $XX from Cheep-Os whenever and thinks its groovy.
Then back to Social Net 3 to say "got my Widget-O, cant wait to try it out"
Then back to Social Net 1 where you update your status about your new Widget-O and how cool you think it is.
So, what has just happened here.
Very simply, you just provided enough data to a collection algorithm to quantify your day and make conclusions about you as a person which could be
used for a variety of reasons.
Suppose you continue this practice as part of your daily life. Well, first of all, we (the collectors) know simple things like how much time you
spend shopping, at home, at work, or somewhere in between. How much work you actually do at work, how much work-v-play you do at home, the places you
like to shop and the classification of items you purchase, typical single and cumulative amounts you spend by min/hr/day/wk/mth/yr. Your social
network will make assumptions about what type of person you are by your "friend" associations and interactions with them. That in turn will link
those people to their friends and you will be further compiled into an even broader potential category. Suppose a percentage of your "friends" also
use all 4 of the SN above and now you can break each individual and group down even further based on commonalities and distinct differences.
Applied to urban areas, this could lend itself to determine whether certain businesses build in certain areas (limiting shopping and employment
Applied to certain groups of people could focus creation or destruction of certain market items.
Applied to broad regions, this could influence investment opportunities that may or may not have happened in the beginning.
Keyword searches could focus undo attention on regions because somewhere in that region is someone venting frustrations and using flagged keywords.
Purchases of guns/ammo might falsely alert law enforcement to an area that has no intention of doing anything more than target shooting, but it might
also increase police presence in areas where crime is likely to increase and thereby stem the tide.
City/County/State planners could use this along with census data to increase or decrease services to areas of their region based on these figures.
Now, I know that a measure of this is already being used in mainstream politics, economics, and law enforcement, but think how much more detailed and
involved this will be once their social / sharing sites all start sharing data with each other and a central group can get its hands on the data.
You have just been quantified by your virtual nature and your online flock. Welcome to the future.