Google And The Psychohistorians

The recent surge in popular uprisings in Middle Eastern countries caught US intelligence services by surprise, it seems. Is there a way that national political change could be detected in advance?

Gabriel Koehler-Derrick, an instructor at West Point, and Joshua Goldstein, a researcher at Princeton University, think they may have at least a partial solution. They are seeing if they can tap into the mood of the country by tracking what its citizens are searching for online. And the way they do that is by using the search engine Google Trends.

"What we did was a comparison of search terms over time starting from the moment the Internet was plugged back in by the government of Egypt on Jan. 25, and moving forward for a period of about 30 days to see what we could find out," Koehler-Derrick says. As he saw it, it was an electronic way of taking a very broad poll.

Technovelgy readers may recall an earlier article on unexpected uses for Google Trends; see this article on Google Flu Trends - Dr. Google Beats CDC.

This kind of information is central to creating a real science of psychohistory, Isaac Asimov's pseudoscience from his 1951 novel Foundation.


(Psychohistorian Hari Seldon)

PSYCHOHISTORY–...Gaal Dornick, using nonmathematical concepts, has defined psychohistory to be that branch of mathematics which deals with the reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli....

... Implicit in all these definitions is the assumption that the human conglomerate being dealt with is sufficiently large for valid statistical treatment. The necessary size of such a conglomerate may be determined by Seldon's First Theorem which ... A further necessary assumption is that the human conglomerate be itself unaware of psychohistoric analysis in order that its reactions be truly random ...
(Read more about Asimov's psychohistory)

Via NPR.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/26/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

51 Percent Of Job Activities Could Be Automated
'Mike did not have upsets, acquired sense of humor instead...' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.

Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'- Philip Jose Farmer, 1967.

Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.
'countless tiny brown circles in the green fields ...occasional ruins of ancient cities...' - Philip K. Dick, 1954.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.