WORDSCAPES.

Deb Roy, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, gives a talk on how he’s wired his house for video and recorded everything said around his infant son for three years, giving him the ability to analyze (for instance) exactly what enabled him to learn the word water. Then he explains how he used similar techniques to analyze the relationship between everything available on TV and what people say in social media. It’s pretty mind-boggling stuff, and if you have twenty minutes to spare it’s well worth your while. (Thanks, Sven!)

Comments

  1. rootlesscosmo says:

    That’s remarkable stuff–thanks for posting it. I wonder how you would go about assessing how much (if at all) the family’s behavior is affected by their knowledge that it’s being recorded. (At first guess it sounds impossible–what would you use for a baseline?) There’s also the question of how the children understand the recording project, and what they think of it. I have visions of an agonizingly embarrassed pre-teen accusing the parents of having invaded the child’s privacy without obtaining consent.

  2. I remember the BBC and Fast Company reporting on Roy’s research over the last couple of years. Thanks for posting the TED talk; I’m curious to see more on this.
    (Fast Company link was prevented “due to questionable content”, hence the Reddit stepping stone.)

  3. I wonder how you would go about assessing how much (if at all) the family’s behavior is affected by their knowledge that it’s being recorded
    I gather that people very quickly start to ignore intrusions like that, even when it takes the form of an entire camera crew camped in one’s house; I can’t imagine one would spend much time thinking about a small bump in the ceiling. Not that it’s not an issue that should be taken into account, but I don’t think it would turn out to be significant.
    Fast Company link was prevented “due to questionable content”
    Sigh. I have no idea why I added fastcompany.com to the MT-Blacklist, but I’ve removed it now; thanks for the heads-up.

  4. I liked the words my daughter invented. My favourite was her word for jogger – somedaddyrunning.

  5. I am perplexed what WORDSCAPES has to do with this posting or research.

  6. J.W. Brewer says:

    Re privacy etc., http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/science/18kids.html is a story about the apparently growing phenomenon of academics/scientists using their own kids as research subjects and inter alia how that interacts with the ethical-clearance bureaucracy for human research subjects generally. The UCSD professor who says “I sign my own permission slips” (while stressing that he’s just asking his kids psych-prof-type questions rather than feeding them some experimental drug with yet-to-be-determined side effects) is a guy I knew way back when because we lived a few blocks from each other when we were teenagers.
    I have been fascinated with my own daughters’ language development and the idiosyncratic byways along the way, but have not bothered to take contemporaneous notes so all I have is a bunch of cute half-remembered anecdotes, not all of which can be precisely matched to age-at-the-time.

  7. I am perplexed what WORDSCAPES has to do with this posting or research.
    Watch the video and you’ll find out.

  8. rootlesscosmo says:

    @J. W. Brewer: thanks. That Times article certainly doesn’t lay my concerns to rest. The child can erase the data at age 18–but what if the embarrassment or anger set in at age 10 or 14? One experimenter couldn’t get his wife’s consent so he gathered the data “surreptitiously?” This is a man with what I’d call a very loose notion of personal (never mind professional) ethics.

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