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Avoiding Short-Term Thinking In A World of Big Data

My latest piece for Fast Company's Co Exist site is up here - making the argument that the coming future of big data could erode our ability to think and focus on long-term futures. It begins with an old story about how metrics can mislead us:

Language Mining is the New Health (and Marketing) Tool

I've been really enjoying James Pennebaker's new book The Secret Life of Pronouns, which provides a great, readable overview of how subtle shifts in word choice--frequently, shifts in the use of pronouns from "we" to "I"--can reveal significant differences in emotional, and consequently, physical health.

The Value of Simulation (And the Danger of Confusing it with Prediction)

The BBC had a fascinating article the other day running under the unfortunate headline of "Supercomputer Predicts Revolution," about an intriguing effort by Kalev Leetaru to use "tone and location" to forecast political revolutions and uprisings, and otherwise anticipate large-scale social disruptions.

As the BBC describes the study:

US Government Exploring Health and Identity Information Ecologies

It's satisfying to see that since IFTF's recently released 2008-2009 research: Health and Health Care 2020 Perspective Report, containing my own short discussions of Health and Identity Information Ecologies, that many of these early themes are extended and expanded in two recent reports and policy recommendations from President Obama's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST):

Take This Anti-Depressant--Courtesy of Your Social Network

A great feature in The Economist highlights the variety of ways businesses and researchers are looking at analyzing the intricacies of our social networks and digital trails to understand who influences us, who we influence, and what that could mean for the world at large. This isn't a new field, per se, but the breadth and subtlety of the analysis, as well as the potential quality of their conclusion, is pretty mind-blowing.

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