MIT Launches Social Machines Laboratory with Twitter Investment
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a new member of the New England Council, recently announced the launch of the Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), with funding from a five-year, $10 million commitment from Twitter. The LSM, based at the MIT Media Lab, aims to develop collaborative technologies to tackle complex social problems.
In addition to the crucial funding, Twitter will also provide the program full access to its real-time, public stream of tweets, as well as the archive of every tweet dating back to the first. This will advance one of the lab’s goals of pin-pointing interaction patterns and shared interests in social systems, and developing new technologies to make sense of such semantic and social patterns. The program’s main goal will be to create new technology platforms for individuals and institutions to identify, discuss, and act on pressing societal problems. Although funding was provided by Twitter, the lab will act with complete operational and academic independence, and will work with many social media and mass media platforms in addition to Twitter.
“The Laboratory for Social Machines will experiment in areas of public communication and social organization where humans and machines collaborate on problems that can’t be solved manually or through automation alone,” says Deb Roy, a professor at the Media Lab who will lead the LSM, and who also serves as Twitter’s chief media scientist. “Social feedback loops based on analysis of public media and data can be an effective catalyst for increasing accountability and transparency — creating mutual visibility among institutions and individuals.”
The New England Council congratulates MIT on the creation of this innovative laboratory, and applauds the University for its continued dedication to the use of technology and research to tackle relevant social issues in New England and beyond.