Originally published September 21 2014
Social media users' actions can be accurately predicted hours in advance
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) Are social media users turning into predictable social robots? It turns out that most of what people do on their social media profiles can be used to predict their schedule, actions, location and purchasing habits in real life. In fact, new social media algorithms can predict one's actions in advance with over 90 percent accuracy! The more information one gives away about their daily routine, driving patterns and lifestyle habits on Twitter or Facebook, the easier it is for algorithms to describe and model the person beforehand, essentially predicting their life. This technology could be used to email coupons to the individual right before they go to their favorite restaurant. It could be used to give an alert text when the individual is driving, warning them of traffic jams ahead. Information could even be used to inform healthcare professionals of patient's situations in advance.
Analyzing credit card transactions, networking relationships, a person's likes and GPS locations to predict their lives in advanceBy posting on social media, users are basically projecting their lives and recording it publicly. These social media actions and information are now subject to interception and interpretation by complex computer systems which create a model of the person's whereabouts and travels, basically stripping their privacy to the bone. Anything from networking relationships to location and daily plans can be analyzed and used to predict a person's whereabouts hours in advance. The data can be compared and contrasted with other information, including credit card transactions, email correspondence, GPS location and even monitored telephone calls.
60 percent of social media data is usable for marketing purposes Researchers at the Binghamton University have been working with Nathan Gnanasambandam, a senior researcher at the Palo Alto Research Center of Xerox Research to develop algorithms that predict human activity throughout the day. Using 500 million tweets, the researchers were able to map out human behavior hours before it occurred. The algorithm interpretations make human behavior seem almost robotic. The findings were published in Industrial Engineer.
The results of the algorithm were more than 90 percent accurate for predicting behavior beforehand within a three-hour window. Even those social profiles with limited data were analyzable and predictable, showing how well the algorithms assessed anonymized data. Overall, the researchers found that the predictions were useable 60 percent of the time, for marketing and traffic prevention purposes especially.
The technology can help prevent a traffic jam altogether, instead of just rerouting a driver after a jam occurs. Xerox Research already uses complex algorithms to help with traffic flow. The New York State Thruway's EZ-Pass system and parking services are run by this kind of technology. Xerox also runs call and email help desk contact centers. Fusing this data into the algorithm allows companies to know why a person is calling before they even call. This data can be used to transfer customer service and troubleshooting calls to the correct department before a customer even voices a word.
The research team even mentioned that the technology could be used to solve healthcare problems before they ever occur. Researchers can build tools to help pharmaceutical companies connect with doctors, delegating prescription drugs to patients, possibly before they are even checked out and diagnosed.
Computers dictating people's lives, literallyThis research can possibly make society more efficient, but it also makes humanity look socially robotic. Not only does the technology predict an individual's life, but by communicating back to the individual, the algorithm is essentially guiding or directing the person where it deems fit.
This shows that computers can have a huge influence over people's lives, directing them through their day.
Are people's lives really this programmable?
Are people really becoming this predictable and zombie-like?
How important is your privacy and free will?
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