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By harnessing the power of our collective intelligence, can humans as a species work together to implement thoughtful solutions in an age of connectivity? In a world riddled with big problems, leading social scientist Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland has heartening news. His research is discovering the power and pitfalls of social sharing on our decision-making.

Pentland’s field, “Social Physics” is a new way of understanding human behavior based on analysis of Big Data. By leveraging huge amounts of available consumer information and tracking idea flow, research can now make better predictions about human behavior and learn how to make minor shifts to generate massive change.

Alex `Sandy’ Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives, and is a founding member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility, Telefonica, and a variety of start-up firms. In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the ‘seven most powerful data scientists in the world’.


About the Speaker

Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland

Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland

Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland directs the MIT Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs and previously helped create and direct the MIT Media Lab and the Media Lab Asia in India. He is one of the most-cited scientists in the world, and Forbes recently declared him one of the “7 most powerful data scientists in the world” along with Google founders and the Chief Technical Officer of the United States. He has received numerous awards and prizes such as the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review, the 40th Anniversary of the Internet from DARPA, and the Brandeis Award for work in privacy.

He is a founding member of advisory boards for Google, AT&T, Nissan, and the UN Secretary General, a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded more than a dozen companies including social enterprises such as the Data Transparency Lab, the Harvard-ODI-MIT DataPop Alliance and the Institute for Data Driven Design. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and leader within the World Economic Forum.