Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

The Social Amplifier – Reaction of Human Communities to Emergencies

Publication date: 
07/2013
Authors: 
Yaniv Altshuler
Michael Fire
Erez Shmueli
Yuval Elovici
Alfred Bruckstein
Alex `Sandy' Pentland
David Lazer
The Social Amplifier – Reaction of Human Communities to Emergencies

This paper develops a methodology to aggregate signals in a network regarding some hidden state of the world. We argue that focusing on edges around hubs will under certain circumstances amplify the faint signals disseminating in a network, allowing for more efficient detection of that hidden state. We apply this method to detecting emergencies in mobile phone data, demonstrating that under a broad range of cases and a constraint in how many edges can be observed at a time, focusing on the egocentric networks around key hubs will be more effective than sampling random edges. We support this conclusion analytically, through simulations, and with analysis of a dataset containing the call log data from a major mobile carrier in a European nation.

Research Areas TOC

Computational Social Science, Collective Cognition

Computational Social Science, 21st Century Democracy, Political Networks

DNA and the Criminal Justice System

21st Century Democracy, Political Networks