Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I blog a good bit on Socionomics, a very useful model for behavior and forecasting. Just ran across a journal article (h/t Next Big Future) describing something called "Culturnomics," which appears to be an attempt to aggregate media sources to predict trends.

Here is the abstract from their article at First Monday:

Culturnomics 2.0:  Forecasting Large-Scale Human Behavior Using Global News Media Tone in Time and Space
by Kalev H. Leetaru, First Monday, Vol. 16, No. 9, 5 September 2011
News is increasingly being produced and consumed online, supplanting print and broadcast to represent nearly half of the news monitored across the world today by Western intelligence agencies. Recent literature has suggested that computational analysis of large text archives can yield novel insights to the functioning of society, including predicting future economic events. Applying tone and geographic analysis to a 30–year worldwide news archive, global news tone is found to have forecasted the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, including the removal of Egyptian President Mubarak, predicted the stability of Saudi Arabia (at least through May 2011), estimated Osama Bin Laden’s likely hiding place as a 200–kilometer radius in Northern Pakistan that includes Abbotabad, and offered a new look at the world’s cultural affiliations. Along the way, common assertions about the news, such as “news is becoming more negative” and “American news portrays a U.S.–centric view of the world” are found to have merit.

No mention that I saw of Prechter, et al, or even the more odd-ball work done over at HalfPastHuman (caution: extremely high woo-woo content).

I am very intrigued by the concept of a "media civilization" and how that might affect social mood "patterns" for various places around the world. Not sure how well the "Culturnomics" hypothesis will hold up without a solid framework (like the structure the Elliott Wave Theory gives to Socionomics), but it is great to see that academia is beginning to take "tone" and "mood" more seriously as drivers of social change.

The growth of interconnected communications networks look to finally make it possible to build tools to create benchmarks of social mood - just as mood is plunging and, if the socionomic model (as I interpret it) is correct, just as societies and governments are clamping down on those communications networks.  Sigh.

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