From Mobile Data, Drawing Social Circles | MIT Spectrum | Fall 2015

MIT CEE group utilized cell phone traces from 25mil people in 155 cities in France, Portugal, and Spain over 6 months (7+ bil records).

Through this data, González and her team deduced that one-fifth of urban movement is for social purposes.

González is currently working with the metropolitan planning office in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh to help policymakers coordinate a bus system that reflects urban travel patterns. … Building a bus system with stops and frequencies that anticipate how groups of people actually travel will hopefully encourage more passengers to use it.

This summer, González is working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, upcoming site of the 2016 Olympic Games. The city is trying to coordinate traffic routes, as street capacity will be reduced during the events. Understanding how to encourage travelers to use fewer cars will be key. “I’m analyzing how similar people might have similar mobility patterns. Knowing how people move helps us propose solutions,” such as carpooling, González says. … By quantifying how much urban movement is social, it could be possible to pair like-minded travelers through social media apps that increase traveling efficiency. González points to ride-sharing service Uber as a company that leverages this kind of dynamic social mapping.

“The information that we generate can be captured in real time, from people using their devices, and we can actually see mobility in a city. This is the age of instant information, and it can directly affect policy. Imagine you have a set number of people traveling along a certain route, and you want to add an extra lane—this data can tell the mayor that you need it, and you can really quantify the need,” she says. “It’s hugely exciting.”

via From Mobile Data, Drawing Social Circles | MIT Spectrum | Fall 2015.

HT Alex

Elon Musk is spending $10 million to save us from an evil robot takeover – Quartz

the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX announced yesterday that he is giving $10 million to fund research that ensures artificial intelligence will be used for good, not evil. … This week, Musk signed an open letter calling for research that will “help maximize the societal benefit of AI.”

via Elon Musk is spending $10 million to save us from an evil robot takeover – Quartz.

Donation is to the “Future of Life Institute” — nonprofit research group

Research priorities document [src]

I think I have a new hero.

Peculiar Benefits – The

You don’t necessarily have to do anything once you acknowledge your privilege. You don’t have to apologize for it. You don’t need to diminish your privilege or your accomplishments because of that privilege. You need to understand the extent of your privilege, the consequences of your privilege, and remain aware that people who are different from you move through and experience the world in ways you might never know anything about. They might endure situations you can never know anything about. You could, however, use that privilege for the greater good–to try to level the playing field for everyone, to work for social justice, to bring attention to how those without certain privileges are disenfranchised. While you don’t have to do anything with your privilege, perhaps it should be an imperative of privilege to share the benefits of that privilege rather than hoard your good fortune. We’ve seen what the hoarding of privilege has done and the results are shameful.

via Peculiar Benefits – The

HT Laura Royden

Well-said. (discussion of privilege.)