Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread

Monday, February 10, 2014

Alex Pentland explains the new science of social physics, which is about the way human social networks spread ideas and transform those ideas into behaviors. Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and his new book Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread: The Lessons from a New Science, explores the patterns of information exchange in social networks, the ways humans are like bees, and how networks large and small can be tuned to increase exploration and community engagement. 


Alex Pentland
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Comments [9]

cess romer from nj

Not only good ideas is spreading all over this soup called social media but bad and mediocre ideas, also ideas are not spreading as lineal variables imagine an array of arrays of random variables dependent and independents popping here and there like a quantum particle, so random linear variables does not work anymore, and are only assumptions in this new science.

Feb. 15 2014 07:46 PM
bob idakaar from New Jersey

Face to face communication always wins out in more complicated conversations.

Feb. 11 2014 07:43 AM
marcos from Menlo Park, CA

there is a great work on this subject by Paul Adams called "Grouped". i look forward to comparing this with that.

Feb. 10 2014 12:38 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I would disagree on his view of the Middle Ages.

Feb. 10 2014 12:34 PM
Ed from Larchmont

A fairly good argument for the joint activity of Catholicism against the individual striving of Protestantism.

Feb. 10 2014 12:32 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Face to face" communications work well for people who are better than average in looks, and works worse for those who are uglier than average. The inferences that someone might draw from facial expressions can be totally incorrect and misleading, one way or the other. For some people written communications are much more effective, and hence the popularity of blogging and "social media." It's why many people today prefer to communicate by texting or other written media, while others prefer oral and face to face communication. It's whatever seems to work best for any particular individual.

Feb. 10 2014 12:22 PM
John A.

When you understand that there are dueling memes out there for both good and evil, competing for your attention, it opens up a new priority for a more moral existence. I might agree that the guest is a bit into "Capitalism is Magic" rosiness. No, it's not All good.

Feb. 10 2014 12:22 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Social Science" is an oxymoron and should be downgraded to "Social Engineering" which is what most so-called "social scientists" are actually engaged in.

Feb. 10 2014 12:07 PM
John A.

Its mematics (AKA memetics). It also includes how Bad ideas spread virally too, to be honest. Thanks for making this book known to me.

Feb. 10 2014 11:33 AM

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