Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 1:50pm to 2:45pm
Math Tower 154
Title: Sociotechnical Dynamics Revealed by Books & Social Media
Speaker: Chris Danforth - University of Vermont
Abstract: This talk will describe a suite of physically inspired instruments we've developed to enable exploration of large-scale text data, illuminate collective behavioral patterns, and develop a science of stories. Along with our flagship effort at http://hedonometer.org, we show how Instagram photos reveal markers of depression prior to formal diagnosis, and Twitter topic dynamics rank Trump as being more popular than God. Finally, we present evidence in support of a hypothesis posed by author Kurt Vonnegut, namely that there are only a few emotional arcs (or modes) exhibited by the vast majority of works of fiction.
Bio: Chris Danforth co-directs the Computational Story Lab, a group of applied mathematicians at the undergraduate, masters, phd, and postdoctoral level working on large-scale, system problems in many fields including sociology, nonlinear dynamics, networks, ecology, and physics. Danforth’s background is in the application of chaos theory to weather & climate prediction. His current work is in Computational Social Science, exploring human behavior through social media data. Danforth is the co-inventor of http://hedonometer.org, a socio-technical instrument measuring daily happiness based on 100 billion Twitter messages. He has also developed algorithms to identify predictors of depression from Instagram photos. His research has been covered by the New York Times, Science Magazine, and the BBC among others. Descriptions of his projects are available at his website: http://uvm.edu/~cdanfort