Alex "Sandy" Pentland (MIT)
Abstract. Fine grain data about human behavior, harvested from cell phones, social media, credit cards, and similar media, has given us the ability to quantify the network dynamics of social learning and decision making in real-world situations by use of heterogeneous stochastic network models. These models allow predictions of human behavior in domains ranging from financial decisions to health behaviors to consumer consumption. We can also develop network incentive mechanisms that strongly shape behavior, providing a new approach for addressing tragedy of the commons problems, and shape behaviors to increase productivity of organizations and perhaps even entire cities. Experiments at scales from hundreds to millions of people will be described.
Bio. Alex "Sandy" Pentland has helped create and direct MIT’s Media Lab, the Media Lab Asia, and the Center for Future Health. He chairs the World Economic Forum's Data Driven Development council, is Academic Director of the Data-Pop Alliance, and is a member of the Advisory Boards for Google, Nissan, Telefonica, the United Nations Secretary General, Monument Capital, and the Minerva Schools. In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the "seven most powerful data scientists in the world," along with Google founders and the CTO of the United States, and he is one of the most-cited computational scientists. His most recent book is Social Physics, published by Penguin Press, won "Best Book of the Year" from Strategy+Business.