3   Exploitation in the Data Mine

Mark Andrejevic

3.1. INTRODUCTION: HOW “ANYTHING” CAN BE PREDICTED

A recent article in the journal Science sifted through three months of call records for 50,000 mobile phone users to answer the question: “to what degree are individual human actions predictable?” (Song et al. 2010). More specifically, the authors sifted through location tracking data collected by an unnamed (presumably US) mobile phone operator to track the users’ time-space paths. The article concluded, based on its consideration of the large database, “that there is a potential 93% average predictability in user mobility, an exceptionally high value rooted in the inherent regularity of human behavior” (Song et al. 2010, 1018). Even more surprisingly, ...

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