The information reveals a trove of interesting population patterns. By looking at the neighborhoods where the data came from, researchers determined that New Yorkers who engage in global gab tend to be on the high end of the socio-economic scale or struggling to make ends meet. Translation: international business and professional people or poor immigrants.
“The striking piece of evidence coming out of this project is that global talk happens both at the top of the economy and at its lower end,” Saskia Sassen, a Columbia University professor and globalization expert, wrote for the project catalog. “The vast middle layers of our society are far less global. The middle talks mostly nationally and locally.”
The MIT team started monitoring billions of electronic streams flowing to and from New York about two months ago, relying on information provided by AT&T, one of the world’s largest providers of communications services.
AT&T Labs, based in Murray Hill, N.J., collects the data on phone calls, e-mail messages, cyber-phone connections and Web browsing, then transfers only that information â€” which has no personal, identifying details â€” to MIT in Cambridge, Mass., for processing and analysis.
I wonder what the NSA’s map looks like. 🙂