Category Archives: Chapter 14

Big Data, Technology, and Teaching

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s New York Times bestseller, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (W. W. Norton) argues that we are at an inflection point of exceptional change in society due … Continue reading

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Who We Are and Who We Are Becoming

As a long-term resident of the Boston area and a college professor, it’s heartening to learn that Bostonians spend more on college than residents of others cities.  As I write yet another blog entry based on a newspaper article, it’s … Continue reading

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The Person Particle?

We all value our individuality, so it might be disconcerting to know that in new research about crowd behavior, some physicists have improved understanding of human behavior by thinking of people as particles.  Using cameras and analyses of big data sets … Continue reading

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Secret photographing of classes at Harvard??

Maybe you missed it, but it has been big news in the Boston area:  classes were secretly photographed in spring 2014 as part of a Harvard University research project about classroom attendance. About 2,000 students in 10 lecture halls were … Continue reading

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Crossing the Political Line?

In the Big Data world, a small experiment can have a big impact.  Stanford University political scientists Adam Bonica and Jonathan Rodden, and Dartmouth’s Kyle Dropp designed a Big Data experiment to test whether information on the ideological preferences of … Continue reading

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Political Polling by Microsoft?

When Microsoft talks, the market listens.  But what about when Cortana calls you on your cellphone to ask you some questions in a survey?  Will you listen?  “Cortana” is the name Microsoft has given to a new digital assistant it … Continue reading

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Privacy? Are We Losing It?

Privacy is precious for many reasons, but it is rapidly being lost in online interaction.  Houston journalist Kate Murphy points out in a New York Times article that research shows that privacy is associated with higher self-esteem and creativity, as … Continue reading

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A new social world in the 21st century?

A recent Boston Globe article on “online personas” was motivated by a tragic case of child neglect in Blackstone, Massachusetts.  A woman who was ostensibly living with two school aged children and their father in a small home, while maintaining a cheery … Continue reading

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Big Data is Hard Work

Although a Google Ngram like that in Chapter 14 (Exhibit 14.11) provides a quick way to discover the potential for Big Data, getting all that data ready for analysis involves a lot of hard work behind the scenes.  Research conducted … Continue reading

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