90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
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.

April 23 10 Comments

Iconic Images From Rock And Roll Photographer Henry Diltz

Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, the Eagles, all became his friends and subjects.

April 23 22 Comments

Police Shooting Of Tamir Rice Still An Open Wound In Cleveland

Five months after the 12-year-old was shot, Peter O'Dowd visits the neighborhood and speaks with Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice.

April 22 6 Comments

Saving Food Scraps From The Trash To Make Better Meals

Are you throwing away your broccoli stems and peach pits? Food writer and cookbook author Eugenia Bone says don't.

April 21 Comment

Photographing Armenian Lives Around the World

Photojournalist Scout Tufankjian started the Armenian Diaspora Project to explore what it means to be Armenian.