Next Article in Journal
Next Article in Special Issue
Previous Article in Journal
Previous Article in Special Issue
Entropy 2014, 16(1), 543-556; doi:10.3390/e16010543
Article

Entropy and the Predictability of Online Life

1
 and 2,*
Received: 1 December 2013; in revised form: 16 December 2013 / Accepted: 30 December 2013 / Published: 16 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Systems)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [271 KB, uploaded 16 January 2014]
Abstract: Using mobile phone records and information theory measures, our daily lives have been recently shown to follow strict statistical regularities, and our movement patterns are, to a large extent, predictable. Here, we apply entropy and predictability measures to two datasets of the behavioral actions and the mobility of a large number of players in the virtual universe of a massive multiplayer online game. We find that movements in virtual human lives follow the same high levels of predictability as offline mobility, where future movements can, to some extent, be predicted well if the temporal correlations of visited places are accounted for. Time series of behavioral actions show similar high levels of predictability, even when temporal correlations are neglected. Entropy conditional on specific behavioral actions reveals that in terms of predictability, negative behavior has a wider variety than positive actions. The actions that contain the information to best predict an individual’s subsequent action are negative, such as attacks or enemy markings, while the positive actions of friendship marking, trade and communication contain the least amount of predictive information. These observations show that predicting behavioral actions requires less information than predicting the mobility patterns of humans for which the additional knowledge of past visited locations is crucial and that the type and sign of a social relation has an essential impact on the ability to determine future behavior.
Keywords: human behavior; mobility; computational social science; online games; time-series analysis; social dynamics human behavior; mobility; computational social science; online games; time-series analysis; social dynamics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

Sinatra, R.; Szell, M. Entropy and the Predictability of Online Life. Entropy 2014, 16, 543-556.

AMA Style

Sinatra R, Szell M. Entropy and the Predictability of Online Life. Entropy. 2014; 16(1):543-556.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sinatra, Roberta; Szell, Michael. 2014. "Entropy and the Predictability of Online Life." Entropy 16, no. 1: 543-556.


Entropy EISSN 1099-4300 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert