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Sensory maps

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Researchers have used large quantities of online data to study social dynamics in new ways. That tremendous effort resulted in the emergence of a new research area called “computational social science”. Consider the specific case of online networked individuals (e.g., users of Twitter, Instagram, Flickr). Can their social dynamics be used to build better tools for future cities? To answer that question, a few years ago, our research started to focus on understanding how people psychologically experience the city. We used computer science tools to replicate 1970s social science experiments at scale, at web scale. The result of that research has been the creation of new maps, maps where one does not only find the shortest path but also the most enjoyable path. What if we had a mapping tool that would return the most enjoyable routes based not only on aesthetics but also based on smell and sound? This talk will address that question by showing how a creative use of social media can tackle hitherto unanswered research questions (e.g., how to capture smellscapes and soundscapes of entire cities)

This talk is part of the Cambridge Tech Talks series.

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