The Interdependence and Fragmentation of Life Experiences across Cyber-social Systems
Smartphones and laptop computers now allow multitasking among a greater range of experiences than has ever been possible. People switch between radically different content – from work to play to social relationships – and often within seconds. This means that understanding interchanges with cyber-social systems (e.g., health, social relationships, finances, shopping, transportation, work productivity, learning) will depend as much on stitching together experiences across domains as on examining experiences scattered within any single system. Health interactions influence social relationships, which influence financial decisions, which influence work productivity, and so on. Our project is about the interdependence of cyber-social systems across time domains (i.e., from seconds to years) and spatial locations. Many behaviors now emerge through digital experiences, producing data that can be accessed through portals and accumulated into a cohesive picture of individual life. In Phase 1 we will design, borrow and build software tools that gather, store, search and visualize experiences over time, paying attention to embedded security and privacy issues. In Phase 2 we will use those tools to test hypotheses and explore the interdependences among domains. We will emphasize the communication of data back to individuals and organizations so that each might use insights from cross-domain tracking to improve policies and practices in learning, commerce and social relationships.
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