Register to reply

What is social physics?

by microsansfil
Tags: physics, social
Share this thread:
microsansfil
#1
Aug21-14, 07:08 AM
P: 104
Hello,

Is it a new theory of human social interaction, based on the concept of big data ?

The engine that drives social physics is big data.


Patrick
Phys.Org News Partner Social sciences news on Phys.org
Violence rates can be halved in just 30 years, say leading experts
Power isn't enough: Study reveals the missing link for effective leadership
Persian Gulf states have new role to play in Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution
Simon Bridge
#2
Aug21-14, 10:58 AM
Homework
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
Simon Bridge's Avatar
P: 13,110
No - but it does appear to claim to be a new specialist field in social sciences. Sort of.
The hope is that having lots of data will produce predictive models for human behavior.
Sounds like marketing and I see the links all seem to go to "media" dot MIT.
Is anyone doing it outside MIT?
microsansfil
#3
Aug21-14, 11:39 AM
P: 104
Quote Quote by Simon Bridge View Post
Is anyone doing it outside MIT?
Sandy Pentland: "Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread" seems to be the author of this notion

Patrick

Simon Bridge
#4
Aug21-14, 12:03 PM
Homework
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
Simon Bridge's Avatar
P: 13,110
What is social physics?

Pentland certainly seems to be the latest to popularize the term - he's with the "media" people group at MIT.
He's also done some work on social networks.

I don't think the field has a journal so far though.
Where does Sandy generally publish?
microsansfil
#5
Aug21-14, 12:46 PM
P: 104
Quote Quote by Simon Bridge View Post
Where does Sandy generally publish?
Good question. I do not know this person. Even so, "Social Physics" (not social big data) seem to have a long history.

Patrick
Simon Bridge
#6
Aug21-14, 01:14 PM
Homework
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
Simon Bridge's Avatar
P: 13,110
The term has been used to mean different things through history.
I don't think the "human thermodynamics" site is a good source to use - it raises too many red flags for "crackpot".

Try:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguste_Comte
... August Comte used "socail physics" to mean the same thing as "sociology" ... the second word he used after the first was appropriated by others.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolphe_Quetelet
... for the related use to describe the use of statistical methods in social sciences.
Closer to the use by Pentland. However, the historical uses should be understood in context.
microsansfil
#7
Aug22-14, 12:42 AM
P: 104
Quote Quote by Simon Bridge View Post
The term has been used to mean different things through history.
I don't think the "human thermodynamics" site is a good source to use - it raises too many red flags for "crackpot".
Ok

I do not know this site. I found it by chance. The content on this particular point "Social Physics" seemed to me credible.

I agree, always keep a critical reading. Especially when we have no knowledge on the subject

Quote Quote by Simon Bridge View Post
Try:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguste_Comte
... August Comte used "socail physics" to mean the same thing as "sociology" ... the second word he used after the first was appropriated by others.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolphe_Quetelet
... for the related use to describe the use of statistical methods in social sciences.
Closer to the use by Pentland. However, the historical uses should be understood in context.
Thank

Patrick
Zag
#8
Aug23-14, 06:17 PM
Zag's Avatar
P: 43
I guess even political scientists nowadays are more motivated to analyse their objects of study based on large data - it appears to be the newst trend in the field. However, this has still to show any real progress. What you mainly have in such fields are very simple models with virtually no predictive power. This happens partially because people in these fields did not receive the appropriate trainning to deal with mathematical modeling and large data sets, and partially because social behavior is affected by so many variables that it is hard to believe that anyone would have taken all of them into consideration.

I am pretty sure that you can find people working in this kind of approach in the Sociology, Antrophology, Economics and Political Science departments of big Universities.
Simon Bridge
#9
Aug23-14, 08:29 PM
Homework
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
Simon Bridge's Avatar
P: 13,110
It's mainly because it is easy to publish such theories in social science journals.
Prev. though there was a larger tendency to concentrate on qualitative research, so it's probably a move in the right direction (i.e. towards a harder form of science.)


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Is it possible to do a physics PhD and still have a social life? Academic Guidance 6
Physics and social/economic problems Current Events 10
Attempts to balance social life/ physics Academic Guidance 39
Social life and Physics/Mathematics? Academic Guidance 72
Physics Meets Social Sciences BBC today Social Sciences 0