The Predictive Power of Big Data

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Consider the following question: Which would help you more if your quest was to learn about contemporary human society— unfettered access to a leading university’s department of sociology, packed with experts on how societies function, or unfettered access to Facebook, a company whose goal is to help mediate human social relationships online?

These kinds of ruminations are starting to cause scientists and even scholars of the humanities to do something unfamiliar: to step out of the ivory tower and strike up collaborations with major companies. A research group led by UC San Diego’s James Fowler partnered with Facebook to perform an experiment on sixty-one million Facebook members. The experiment showed that a person was much more likely to register to vote after being informed that a close friend had registered. The closer the friend, the greater the influence. Read entire article here>