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The Power Law of Information
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The Power Law of Information
Life in A Connected World

  • Srinath Srinivasa - International Institute for Information Technology, Bangalore, India


November 2006 | 184 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
We live in an era of unparalleled access to information and communication technologies. The Internet and other information tools like the television are becoming ever more central to our lives—we chat, blog, e-mail and e-shop, leaving behind our footprints in this version of public space. In addition, we are constantly bombarded with different kinds of information that seek to mould our thinking in subtle ways.

The reader of this book will discover that social information networks possess qualities that are counter-intuitive. Social information networks form what are called frictionless, nonlinear systems. The behaviour of such systems can be extremely complex, making it hard to predict, let alone control. Despite this, there are some common features displayed by such systems, especially the ‘power law’ distribution. A power law distribution of societal influence, for example, would depict a society where a small percentage of society would wield enormous clout, while the larger part would have very little or no influence. Such a society would be highly polarized, with no room for the middle ground.

The book investigates properties of frictionless, non-linear systems and the unconventional thought processes needed to comprehend them. It also shows how information affects us in a variety of ways: be it human rationality, the spread of ideas in society, or global monetary systems. Drawing upon current research, the author offers directions on how to model the new world taking shape and possibly to also steer it in the right direction.
 
Preface
 
Information and the Power Law
 
Non-linear Frictionless Systems
 
Information and Rationality
 
Information Networks and Cascades
 
Information and Money
 
Concluding Remarks
 
Bibliography and Selected Reading
 
Index

The reader of this book will discover that social information networks possess qualities that are counter-intuitive….Drawing upon current research, the author offers directions on how to model the new world taking shape and possibly also steer it in the right direction.

Economic and Political Weekly

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ISBN: 9780761935124
£21.99