US Government Aims to Build a 'Data Eye in the Sky'

Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 11/10/2011 20:19

More than 60 years ago, in his "Foundation" series, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science -- psychohistory -- that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future.

Now social scientists are trying to mine the vast resources of the Internet -- Web searches and Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones -- to do the same thing.

The most optimistic researchers believe that these storehouses of "big data" will for the first time reveal sociological laws of human behavior -- enabling them to predict political crises, revolutions and other forms of social and economic instability, just as physicists and chemists can predict natural phenomena.

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