Johanna Faust, a mixed race Jew, prefers to publish pseudonymously. She is committed: to preventing war, ecological disaster, and nuclear apocalypse; to keeping information available and free; and to not only fighting for personal privacy, but, by representing herself as a soldier in that fight, to exhorting others to do the same. All these efforts find representation on her blog "ah, Mephistophelis," so named after the last line of Chirstopher Marlowe's in his famous Dr. Faustus, which, as some would have it, successfully flouted the censor for a time. A female Faust, she is a poet, always.

Reality (Data)Mining

Well then. Here's something that won't help you sleep any better
(emphasis mine):

We have invented the technology of reality mining, which uses sensor data to extract subtle patterns that predict future human behavior.

These predictive patterns begin with "
honest signals," human behaviors that evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, and which are major factors in human decision making in everything from job interviews to first dates.

By using data from mobile phones, electronic ID badges, or digital media to track these honest signals, we can create a "god's eye" view of how the people interact, and even "see" the rhythms of interaction for everyone in a city.

Management insights based on Honest Signals were Named a "Breakthrough Idea of 2009" by
Harvard Business Review, and Reality Mining was declared "a technology poised to change the world" by Technology Review.
Read more at the MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory.

Snuggly and secure yet? From his video, following:

These are all the next-generation applications for cell phones and PDAs.... One of the more interesting medium-term applications is in health care. Everyone knows that when someone is depressed they sound a little different, they act a little different. We believe that we can actually detect this, and change their medications dynamically...

More on Dr. Pentland, from his CV (emphasis mine):

Alex `Sandy’ Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, and advises the World Economic Forum, Nissan Motor Corporation, and a variety of start-up firms. He has previously helped create and direct MIT’s Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital’s Center for Future Health. Profiles of Sandy have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Newsweek, Caring Magazine (Hospice), and Odyssey Magazine (Children). His most recent book is `Honest Signals,' published by MIT Press.

Sandy is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, mobile computing, image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, the World Economic Forum, Harvard Business Review, Newsweek, the New York Times, Vogue, O Magazine, and the National Inquirer, as well as being the focus of dozens of TV features including Nova and Scientific American Frontiers.

Over the years Sandy has advised more than 50 PhD students. Almost half are now tenured faculty at leading institutions, with another one-quarter leading industry research groups and a final quarter founders of their own companies.

Sandy's research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off 26 companies to date, three of which are publicly listed and several that serve millions of poor in Africa and South Asia. Recent spin-offs have been featured in the Economist, Newsweek, Business Week, and the New York Times, as well as winning more than a dozen prizes from international development organizations.

Interesting experiences include winning the DARPA 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge, dining with British Royalty and the President of India, staging fashion shows in Paris, Tokyo, and New York, and developing a method for counting beavers from space.

Read more -- and watch more of his videos - at

HTTP:[SLASH][SLASH]web [DOT] media [DOT] mit [DOT] edu [SLASH] ~sandy [SLASH]

Some sanity on the subject from Mark Fiore (please check out his work at, he's awesome):

Be seeing you.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi ff... How do you get those post links to the left? I would like to do that.