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Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture

by Travis Korte

Uncharted follows the authors, applied mathematicians Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, through their work in the field of “culturomics.” Culturomics, which consists of analyzing historical and social trends through quantitative text analysis, borrows methods from text mining, historical time-series analysis and sociology. Work in the field is typified by Google’s Ngram Viewer, which the duo helped create, and which allows users to compare usage rates of words in various different languages, going back decades or centuries. The book explores a number of questions the pair attempted to answer using culturomics methods, including inquiries about how quickly technology spreads and how grammar changes over time.

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