Can we scientifically predict our future? Scientists and pseudo scientists have been pursuing this mystery for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. But now, astonishing new research is revealing patterns in human behavior previously thought to ...
be purely random. Precise, orderly, predictable patterns...
Albert Laszlo Barabasi, already the world's preeminent researcher on the science of networks, describes his work on this profound mystery in Bursts, a stunningly original investigation into human nature. His approach relies on the digital reality of our world, from mobile phones to the Internet and email, because it has turned society into a huge research laboratory. All those electronic trails of time stamped texts, voicemails, and internet searches add up to a previously unavailable massive data set of statistics that track our movements, our decisions, our lives. Analysis of these trails is offering deep insights into the rhythm of how we do everything. His finding? We work and fight and play in short flourishes of activity followed by next to nothing. The pattern isn't random, it's "bursty." Randomness does not rule our lives in the way scientists have assumed up until now.
Illustrating this revolutionary science, Barabasi artfully weaves together the story of a 16th century burst of human activity-a bloody medieval crusade launched in his homeland, Transylvania-with the modern tale of a contemporary artist hunted by the FBI through our post 9/11 surveillance society. These narratives illustrate how predicting human behavior has long been the obsession, sometimes the duty, of those in power. Barabási's astonishingly wide range of examples from seemingly unrelated areas include how dollar bills move around the U.S., the pattern everyone follows in writing email, the spread of epidemics, and even the flight patterns of albatross. In all these phenomena a virtually identical, mathematically described bursty pattern emerges.
Bursts reveals what this amazing new research is showing us about where individual spontaneity ends and predictability in human behavior begins. The way you think about your own potential to do something truly extraordinary will never be the same.
Imagine you want to write a book on the history of popcorn but your publisher expects a book on life on Mars; what do you do? you stitch together both topics as best as you can. This is what happens here; the author obviously wants to write about aImagine you want to write a book on the history of popcorn but your publisher expects a book on life on Mars; what do you do? you stitch together both topics as best as you can.
This is what happens here; the author obviously wants to write about a crusade in Transylvania in 1500, but readers expect a book on networks. The result is a bad book; it does not convince when speaking about networks and will bore you to death with the Transylvanian adventures of the author's grand-grand-grand-daddy.
The content can be summed up into two sentences: 1. all human activity is bursty (so what, you do not usually answer e-mail at a steady pace over 24hrs) and 2. human behaviour can be predicted becuse it's highly repeated over time (so what again, it's obvious that I usually sleep in my bed at night).