The Secret Science Club
The Bell House (149 7th St., Brooklyn)
Every single day, people create, collect, and share 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. Text. Tweets. Photos. Videos. Clicks. Links. Consumer transactions. Blog posts and comments. And so on . . . down, down, down the rabbit hole . . . While all this ballooning information creates storage nightmares for some, a new breed of computational social scientists is enthusiastically exploring Big Data and extracting surprising insights about human behavior.
Duncan Watts—principal researcher at Microsoft’s new NYC-based laboratory, former sociology professor at Columbia University, and the author of Everything Is Obvious (*Once You Know the Answer)—is at the forefront of these studies, examining concepts ranging from influence and incentives to social contagion and stereotypes. He challenges over-simplified explanations about human interactions and asks: Why do common sense explanations often turn out to be wrong? Are your friends as similar to you as you think they are? Why do we like the music we like? How do ideas really spread?