Sunday, December 13, 2009

Your cellphone can tell me what you did last summer

Our cellphones are nowadays an item, which we are very much accustomed to bringing along to every single place we go to. They are also devices that are very similar to little computers with multiple sensors and interaction modalities, they are equipped with GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometers, cameras, microphones,magnetometers,keyboards, and touch-sensitive displays,they also have great computation power and memory,graphics capabilities, and various communications capabilities.
All of these elements aside from providing a novel multi modal user interface experience give the means through which cellphones are a perfect device for tracing human activity. With all of the cellphone's sensors, one can obtain a collection of data, that is related with what a person did through out the day, then by using data-mining algorithms one can infer human relationships and behaviors, this is often refereed to as Reality Mining. The MIT Media Lab gives a far more formal definition of what Reality Mining is: "...R.M defines the collection of machine-sensed environmental data pertaining to human social behavior..."

The problem that is currently being faced is to understand exactly how the joint use of multiple modalities,like for example location and proximity to others, help understand a person’s routines. It is important to point out that many issues actually arise when one wishes to understand patterns in the life of an individual. It is not simple to automatically infer a person's activities as well as efficiently represent them . For example, having a stay home alone Thursday and a Thursday of Beer Hotness with friends at your place define entirely different social situations, yet they could be considered identical from the sole perspective of location. It is thus very important to have detailed descriptions of the activities done by a person for characterizing the users and their habits.

The big impact that reality mining has on us, is that it is able to create models of individual as well as group behavior from the recollected data, this could enable smart personal assistants, as well as monitoring of personal and community health.



Bryce Boe said...

"Thursday of beer hotness" - ha! I think I'm going to have to start saying that.

On a separate note I suppose if the GPS resolution was high enough, you could probably track inebriation from the sway in one's walk :-D

RBK SAEZ said...

Love your post!! and is all in english thats great!!

Real Time information is a subject i´m really interested. I thinks that all that information can be usefull in innovation and new projects for new targets needs.

As a marketing fan and professional wanna be, i believe that this kind os info is very valuable for lots of companys.

My question is: ¿who has this info? ¿what is doing with it?


Saiph said...

@ Mr. Boe haha yes actually tracking inebriation is very important! There are some cool mobile phone apps out there already, that depending on your drunk state allow you the access of information on your phone. So if you're really drunk, you won't be able to call your ex bf or boss.haha
The ones I saw, took a picture of your face, and asked you to do some tasks with the phone, they basically checked the gestures you did with the desired output and had a score for that, and I'm not sure how they checked your face for drunkness, but it seems they compared the recently taken picture with a normal image of yourself and looked for differences in how your eyes were etc.
btw Cool profile pic!
@ Rbk Gracias por visitar mi blog!
I haven't actually seen any of these things become commercial. In the papers I read, this was done with students from MIT who volunteered to be in the project. They were around 105 I believe.
I think companies could easily track down their workers, since a lot of companies give their employees cellphones.I guess a lot of privacy issues could arise here. What people need to realize is that, as you said many new innovative projects could come about from having this information available. So you loose some privacy, but really gain a lot from your information being processed.

Terpsichore said...

pero los celulares dan cáncer!!
pero bueno, ya todo cáncer ahorita.

wuórale una aplicación que evite drunk dials? éso suena genialudo :D
mobile social software. interesting.
I'll read references.

Duen said...

Fot all us non-tech people, this is seriously disturbing. At least for me.
Thanks for sharing this.

Hector Zarate (@hecktorzr) said...

Hey! Qye chido post! Felicidades.