Dr. Alex “Sandy” Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program and co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives.
Pentland’s research focuses on social physics, big data and privacy. His research helps people better understand the “physics” of their social environment, and helps individuals, companies and communities to reinvent themselves to be safer, more productive, and more creative. Pentland shows that, in fact, humans respond much more powerfully to social incentives that involve rewarding others and strengthening the ties that bind than incentives that involve only their own economic self-interest.
Sandy has previously been a pioneer in wearable computing, ventures technology for developing nations, and image understanding. He and his teams have found that they can study patterns of information exchange in a social network without any knowledge of the actual content of the information and predict with stunning accuracy how productive and effective that network is, whether it’s a business or an entire city. We can maximize a group’s collective intelligence to improve performance and use social incentives to create new organizations and guide them through disruptive change in a way that maximizes the good. At every level of interaction, from small groups to large cities, social networks can be tuned to increase exploration and engagement, thus vastly improving idea flow. (excerpted from http://thepenguinpress.com/authorbio/alex-pentland/)
Pentland’s research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover and Science channels.