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Cellphone Traces Reveal You're So Predictable


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We may all like to consider ourselves free spirits. But a study of the traces left by 50,000 cellphone users over three months has conclusively proved otherwise.

"We are all in one way or another boring," says Albert-László Barabási at the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University in Boston, who co-wrote the study. "Spontaneous individuals are largely absent from the population."

Barabási and colleagues used three months' worth of data from a cellphone network to track the cellphone towers each person's phone connected to each hour of the day, revealing their approximate location. They conclude that regardless of whether a person typically remains close to home or roams far and wide, their movements are theoretically predictable as much as 93 per cent of the time.

Surprisingly, the cellphone data showed that individuals' movements were more or less as predictable at weekends as on weekdays, suggesting that routine is rooted in human nature rather than being an effect of work patterns.

From New Scientist
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