Dino Pedreschi, University of Pisa, Italy

Nowcasting well-being in societies: at the crossroads of big data, network science, and complex systems

Data-driven modeling and social mining has the potential of yielding a planetary nervous system capable of supporting the computation, monitoring and nowcasting of new indices of social well-being, a novel compass long-awaited by decision-makers and citizens, well beyond the limitations of the gross national product (GDP) per capita. The key scientific challenge is to make the different dimensions of social well-being globally measurable in real-time: besides material living standards (income, consumption and wealth), it is important to consider many other factors, such as health, education, personal activities including work, political voice and governance, social connections and relationships, environment, security. We discuss how the availability of big data sources, such as mobile phone data, retail transaction records, web search records, social media texts, social network data, together with novel social mining methods powered by network science and complex system modeling, are paving new avenues to quantify the human and social capital​ in our societies, and therefore to monitor and nowcast the various facets of well-being.