Understanding individual behaviour: from virtual to physical patterns


As “Big Data” has become pervasive, an increasing amount of research has connected the dots between human behaviour in the offline and online worlds. Consequently, researchers have exploited these new findings to create models that better predict different aspects of human life and recommend future behaviour. To date, however, we do not yet fully understand the similarities and differences of human behaviour in these virtual and physical worlds. Here, we analyse and discuss the mobility and application usage of 400,000 individuals over eight months. We find an astonishing similarity between people’s mobility in the physical space and how they move from app to app in smartphones. Our data shows that individuals use and visit a finite number of apps and places, but they keep exploring over time. In particular, two distinct profiles of individuals emerge: those that keep changing places and services, and those that are stable over time, named as “explorers” and “keepers”. We see these findings as crucial to enrich a discussion for the potentials and the challenges of building human-centric AI systems, which might leverage recent results in Computational Social Science.

ECAI 2020