Cellphones' Location Patterns Show That We Are Predictable Ramblers

A study on cellphone location data—made over users calling every two hours on average—says that human moves are predictable 93% of the time. And here I was, thinking that I was better than a bacteria.

The study—published last week in Science magazine—found out that no matter how far humans travel, they almost always do it in a predictable manner. For cellphone users who stayed within an area with a radius of six miles, they could predict their moves with 97% to 93% accuracy. As they increased the radius, the predictability stayed at 93%.


It seems logical, since we are animals that like to adopt certain customs. But while I don't need cellphone location data to predict that Matt would visit Momofuku Milk Bar every two days, or that I would be eating buttery steak at El Almacen every week, this study could be extremely useful for architects designing urban spaces, engineers creating transportation networks, or—perhaps the most logical—telecommunication companies planning cellphone tower locations and bandwidth capacity. [Science via Ars Technica]

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