The research grew out of a mid-2000s reality mining project, also sponsored by Nokia, that sought to glean insights about social interactions from personal devices. That work took place before the current smartphone boom. “It is exciting to see the project flesh out some of the hints and preliminary results we’ve seen in our earlier projects. This field is really moving toward being practical,” said Alex “Sandy” Pentland, director of the MIT’s Human Interactions Lab, referring to all of the research done on the Lausanne data.
He added that progress in the field—together with the many commercial efforts that already extensively mine and leverage personal data—makes it even more crucial for companies, governments, and researchers to follow a personal data privacy and usage framework developed at Davos last year.