Sunday, July 15, 2012

Predicting people's future locations with mobile data.

MIT Tech Review reports on an algorithm that allows mobile tracking systems to predict our future locations:
Beyond merely tracking where you've been and where you are, your smartphone might soon actually know where you are going—in part by recording what your friends do.

Researchers in the U.K. have come up with an algorithm that follows your own mobility patterns and adjusts for anomalies by factoring in the patterns of people in your social group (defined as people who are mutual contacts on each other's smartphones).

The method is remarkably accurate. In a study on 200 people willing to be tracked, the system was, on average, less than 20 meters off when it predicted where any given person would be 24 hours later. The average error was 1,000 meters when the same system tried to predict a person's direction using only that person's past movements and not also those of his friends, says Mirco Musolesi, a computer scientist at the University of Birmingham who led the study.
 From a philosophical point of view, in a dense social network one's freedom of the will seems to be quite limited.

tags: social, networking, mobile, detection, control, aboutness

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