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

Computational Social Science, Political Networks

DNA and the Criminal Justice System

21st Century Democracy, Political Networks