PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Cell Phones Give Researchers ‘God’s-Eye View Of Human Behavior’

(JonJon2k8/Flickr)

(JonJon2k8/Flickr)

Apple created a stir last month after researchers discovered the iPhone was storing years of data tracking a user’s location.

Apple says its latest software update allows people to opt out, but the FCC is moving forward with a public forum on the issue next month. What else might they learn about what cell phones can tell us?

In Belgium, cell phone records explained the country’s political divide: Belgians hold the world record for not being able to agree on a government, and cell phone records show it could be because people in the two camps don’t talk to each other.

Other research in the U.S. tracked tweets, showing that they can predict changes in the Dow Jones average with almost 90% accuracy.

We speak about what information can be gleaned from cell phone records with professor Alex Pentland of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab, he says cell phones can give us a “God’s eye view of human behavior.”


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

June 6 Comment

Introducing A New Here & Now Website

Coming June 9, 2016, Here & Now listeners and visitors will experience our stories and journalism online in a whole new way.

June 3 Comment

Teenagers Create Impromptu Exhibit At San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

As the pair toured the museum, they wondered if they could do better. So 16-year-old Kevin Nguyen decided to get creative.

June 3 3 Comments

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Author Explores Conformity, Mental Health In New Teen Novel

Matthew Quick published his fourth young adult book, "Every Exquisite Thing," this week.

June 2 13 Comments

Do Meal Kits Provide Great Taste Along With Convenience?

Resident chef Kathy Gunst tested a multitude of meal kits, and gives co-host Jeremy Hobson the inside scoop.