Friday, April 10, 2009

An Inaugural Post

Traditional data mining operates on a simple data stripped of most of its real-world context, analyzed long after the event that was being measured has passed. Use of complex data types, data fusion, and real-time analysis on a large scale is virtually unknown despite obvious, demonstrable value. Real-time, deeply contextual, large-scale data analysis -- "reality mining" -- is a very different kind of technology that can be used for applications far beyond the ken of conventional data mining technologies.

The absence of reality mining platforms is not a market oversight but a technological limit, the consequence of a known unsolved problem in theoretical computer science. Reality mining captures the tantalizing essence of what is just beyond our grasp, the ability to analyze the history of the mundane as it unfolds in exceptional detail. Not only does this enable the obvious ability to fuse the real with the virtual, it allows the possibility of creating unprecedented predictive and behavioral models of individuals, societies, and the world at large that can be exploited in real-time. The implications are frankly astounding and like with all powerful technologies it comes with the potential for great benefits and great hazards.

As someone who is intimately involved in many aspects of the nascent field of reality mining, this blog is broadly dedicated to the topic of measuring, modeling, and analyzing reality. This includes the practical implementation aspects, the theoretical computer science aspects, the sociocultural aspects, and the political policy aspects that these types of technologies have. Additionally, separating the fiction from the fact with respect to the claims made in the technology industry regarding related technologies like Internet-scale databases and predictive analytics will also see significant coverage.


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