Patrick Meier: Using Social Media to Monitor Local Impacts Invisible to Conventional Intelligence Sources and Methods

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

Using Social Media to Predict Economic Activity in Cities

 

Economic indicators in most developing countries are often outdated. A new study suggests that social media may provide useful economic signals when traditional economic data is unavailable. In “Taking Brazil’s Pulse: Tracking Growing Urban Economies from Online Attention” (PDF), the authors accurately predict the GDPs of 45 Brazilian cities by analyzing data from a popular micro-blogging platform (Yahoo Meme). To make these predictions, the authors used the concept of glocality, which notes that “economically successful cities tend to be involved in interactions that are both local and global at the same time.” The results of the study reveals that “a city’s glocality, measured with social media data, effectively signals the city’s economic well-being.”

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Mar 10

Patrick Meier: Using Crowd Computing to Analyze UAV Imagery for Search & Rescue Operations — Starkly Opposite USAF Gorgon Stare in Cost, Utility, & Sensibility

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

Using Crowd Computing to Analyze UAV Imagery for Search & Rescue Operations

My brother recently pointed me to this BBC News article on the use of drones for Search & Rescue missions in England’s Lake District, one of my favorite areas of the UK. The picture below is one I took during my most recent visit. In my earlier blog post on the use of UAVs for Search & Rescue operations, I noted that UAV imagery & video footage could be quickly analyzed using a microtasking platform (like MicroMappers, which we used following Typhoon Yolanda). As it turns out, an enterprising team at the University of Central Lancashire has been using microtasking as part of their UAV Search & Rescue exercises in the Lake District.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Every year, the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team assists hundreds of injured and missing persons in the North of the Lake District. “The average search takes several hours and can require a large team of volunteers to set out in often poor weather conditions.” So the University of Central Lancashire teamed up with the Mountain Rescue Team to demonstrate that UAV technology coupled with crowdsourcing can reduce the time it takes to locate and rescue individuals.

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Feb 17

Jean Lievens: Elements of Collaborative Economy – Social, Mobile, Payment Networks

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Forget about Growth Hacking, the future is in the Collaborative Economy

VIDEO

Anyone working in digital can somewhat relate to the overuse of loosely defined marketing words – think ‘big data’ or ‘cloud computing’ (bzzzz). Growth hacking seems to be just another one of them.

In colloquial terms, growth hacking is associated with the exploitation of loopholes and the use of illegal techniques online to grow business development. Of course, in some cases this has been reality. When PayPal was first used on eBay, it was actually breaching the retailer’s T&C’s. Similarly, when Airbnb first started they poached their customers from Craigslist by spamming listings and inviting users to join their directory instead.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

However, growth hacking can also simply be described as the ingenious use of tools, platforms and environments for business development, online AND offline – Google campus in East London, for example, is a good case of growth hacking taking place offline as start-ups use a shared working environment to maximise their potential.  Online, growth hacking is the use of tracking and metric tools that teach us where our time is best spent; and the leveraging of platforms where target audiences and key players are.

‘Hacking’ does not necessarily equal to detrimental consequences for larger corporations either. Indeed, Paypal was then bought by eBay, and when Airbnb developed its interface it added the option to ‘post to Craigslist’.

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Nov 29

Robert Young Pelton: Crowd-Funding and Crowd-Sourcing the Hunt for Joseph Kony — with Public Lessons Learned

Robert Young Pelton

Robert Young Pelton

As some of you know, I like to find people who don’t want to be found. Since the mid 90′s I have located and connected with over two dozen terrorist, criminal, jihadi and drug groups. The alphabet list of people I have tracked down and lived with include the taliban, FARC, LURD, al Qaeda, BRA, GIA, MILF, ABB, AUC, HEK, Haqqani, Shining Path, ADF, Chechens along with various mafyia, gang and drug groups. My resume includes correctly identifying the location of bin Laden and Zawahiri in 2003. I have spent significant time tracking the exact location and condition of hundreds of kidnap victims in Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia. I don’t come to this task lightly

I am trying a new concept. Crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing a real search for a dangerous group. Your dollars supports an expedition led by myself along with professionals on the ground. Our task is to locate Joseph Kony along with understanding and communicating why Kony has not been found. Then we also need to communicate our efforts, discoveries and lessons learned in an open transparent way. Only then can criminals realize that there is no place left on earth to hide.

Phi Beta Iota:  Crowd-funding is raising money from an infinite diversity of sources.  Crowd-sourcing is aggregating information from an infinite variety of sources.  They are different.  They go well together.  This is an example of public intelligence in the public interest funded by the public, of, by, and with the public.

We will go deeply into how $200 million spent by charities and U.S. tax dollars have not resulted in the locating or capture of Kony . Our goal is not to critique but to enlighten our followers so that we can apply this model to other expeditions.

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Oct 23

Patrick Meier: Analyzing Fake Content on Twitter During Boston Marathon Bombings

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

Analyzing Fake Content on Twitter During Boston Marathon Bombings

As iRevolution readers already know, the application of Information Forensics to social media is one of my primary areas of interest. So I’m always on the lookout for new and related studies, such as this one (PDF), which was just published by colleagues of mine in India. The study by Aditi Gupta et al. analyzes fake content shared on Twitter during the Boston Marathon Bombings earlier this year.

bostonstrongGupta et al. collected close to 8 million unique tweets posted by 3.7 million unique users between April 15-19th, 2013. The table below provides more details. The authors found that rumors and fake content comprised 29% of the content that went viral on Twitter, while 51% of the content constituted generic opinions and comments. The remaining 20% relayed true information. Interestingly, approximately 75% of fake tweets were propagated via mobile phone devices compared to true tweets which comprised 64% of tweets posted via mobiles.

Table1 Gupta et alThe authors also found that many users with high social reputation and verified accounts were responsible for spreading the bulk of the fake content posted to Twitter. Indeed, the study shows that fake content did not travel rapidly during the first hour after the bombing. Rumors and fake information only goes viral after Twitter users with large numbers of followers start propagating the fake content. To this end, “determining whether some information is true or fake, based on only factors based on high number of followers and verified accounts is not possible in the initial hours.”

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Oct 21

Tom Atlee: Surveillance and parasitism harm society’s collective intelligence

Tom Atlee

Tom Atlee

Surveillance and parasitism harm society’s collective intelligence

What this post is about:  Society’s collective intelligence needs to be able to see clearly what’s going on and take action about it.  Both NSA surveillance and corporate suppression of activism interfere with that vital dynamic.  This post clarifies what’s going on in these dynamics and suggests strategies to counter them and increase society’s collective intelligence.

Any healthy living system will try to weed out challenges that threaten its functioning. That’s what immune systems do: they preserve business-as-usual in a body.

But this natural maintenance activity of a system can be counterproductive:
(a) when changing circumstances demand adaptive responses, when the system NEEDS to change its business-as-usual – and
(b) when the system has been parasitized by something that is using it for the parasite’s own purposes at the larger system’s expense.

Entire post below the line, with links.

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Aug 11

Richard Wright: Reflections on NATO Commentary — US Needs to Drop Down to Observer Status with Russia — Steele Comments

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

I think your thought piece on NATO is excellent, but somewhat incomplete.  NATO is the diplomatic and administrative headquarters, but the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the actual C2 for NATO military operations

In my opinion, the U.S. needs to back out of NATO and its operational counter part SHAPE and leave both to the EU (as you suggest).  The U.S. could join Russia in an observer status at NATO, but would no longer be a voting member.  Both NATO and SHAPE would be under the EU, but would include non-EU members (e.g. Turkey).

This would do two beneficial things: it would provide Europe with a dedicated all European military force; and it would facilitate the move towards greater integration of EU member countries.

The benefits to the U.S. would also be significant by forcing the U.S. to recognize that the Cold War is over and there is no longer any reason to have a major U.S. Military presence in Germany (Italy is another matter given its proximity to the still volatile Maghreb)

I think that your proposal for a dedicated EU-NATO Intelligence Organization is absolutely brilliant, but again I would add a second intelligence entity to SHAPE for support to military operations (SMO). Both of these organizations would be all European.

I too am a non-player in the power games inside the DC Beltway. If I had any influence you would not be unemployed.  Frankly I believe that the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government have lost interest in governing this country and are just going through the motions. So expecting the U.S. to take the initiative with NATO is fruitless.

Susan Rice is a brilliant and effective woman who I suspect will be ignored by President Obama, just as he ignored the super competent General Jones (who I became acquainted with when he headed the U.S. DOD Delegation at NATO).

Keep fighting the good fight!
Richard (AKA Retired Reader)

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Jul 12

Robin Good: Supermap of Over 400 Content Curation Services

Robin Good

Robin Good

If you are looking for your ideal content curation toolkit here is my new completely updated supermap, listing in over 30 categories all of the tools and services you may need to curate any content, from video to news.  This new supermap includes all of the tools and services that were already listed on NewsMaster Toolkit, with the addition of 25 new tools and with a much better organization of categories and labels.  My choice for organizing and recreating this supermap has now fallen on Pearltrees, the only content curation tool that can easily handle most of my key requirements for such a large collection of tools.  Nonetheless there are over 400 tools listed in this supermap, Pearltrees makes it a breeze to navigate through them, and to add new ones to the relevant branches.   The supermap is now being updated daily.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

P.S.: I already feel the need for having a PRO account, which could allow me to further edit the pearls collected, to preserve original web pages saved, and to add images to pearls that weren’t able to capture one from the web.

Enjoy the new supermap here: http://bit.ly/ContentCurationToolsSupermap.  Try it out and let me know what you think.  (*and if you think I am missing some tools or can improve with my taxonomy, feel free to send me in your suggestions!)

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Jul 10

Robin Good: Google, Yahoo, Others Fear RSS, Locking It Down — We the People NEED an Autonomous Internet with Open Source Everything!

Robin Good

Robin Good

Marco Arment the creator of Instapaper, has an excellent and provocative piece on why Google is closing down all of its RSS appendages (they just closed also the RSS feeds in Google Alerts) and the logic behind this strategy.

Lockdown

He writes: “Officially, Google killed Reader because “over the years usage has declined”.1 I believe that statement, especially if API clients weren’t considered “usage”, but I don’t believe that’s the entire reason.

The most common assumption I’ve seen others cite is that “Google couldn’t figure out how to monetize Reader,” or other variants about direct profitability. I don’t believe this, either. Google Reader’s operational costs likely paled in comparison to many of their other projects that don’t bring in major revenue, and I’ve heard from multiple sources that it effectively had a staff of zero for years. It was just running, quietly serving a vital role for a lot of people.”

The bigger problem is that they’ve abandoned interoperability. RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).

Google resisted this trend admirably for a long time and was very geek- and standards-friendly, but not since Facebook got huge enough to effectively redefine the internet and refocus Google’s plans to be all-Google+, all the time.4

Read full post at Marco.org.

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Jul 5

Marcus Aurelius: Time for US to Get Serious About Setting Everyone Else “Ablaze”? — Sun Tzu Comment

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

Two articles follow:  one posits a seemingly global anti-US opposition, an Anti-American Network (AAN), and the other posits that political warfare is the answer to the Middle East portion of the problem.  IMHO, both are worth considering.  Further believe that, with respect to Boot & Doran’s approach, (a) coverage needs expansion to cover all the opponents Hirsch posits and (b) political warfare is a necessary but not sufficient component of our response and an NCTC-centric structure is probably not the way to go.  We already have policy in place to deal with these kinds of things but it probably needs revision in light of international and domestic politics.  In my view, what we need is national leadership (read:  POTUS and Congress) with the guts and principles of Britain’s WWII leader Winston Churchill supported by an Executive Branch organizational structure combining the best features of their Special Operations Executive (SOE) and Political Warfare Executive (PWE), one authorized, directed, and capable of covertly, surgically and virtually “setting our adversaries ablaze.”   Neither the currently tasked organization nor U.S Special Operations Command, or even the two together, is presently that structure.)

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Jun 30