Latest IT Innovation: Automatically Figuring Out Who You'll Friend Next

August 11, 2011

Meet Jure Leskovec. He's a researcher at Stanford University, and he's about to make your life about a thousand percent creepier. How? By figuring out your next move on Facebook.

Leskovec specializes in analyzing human activity on the Internet and the traces it leaves behind, kind of like a tracker, except with drunken photos and Farmville updates instead of broken twigs and footprints. He collects the data and runs it through pattern analysis...and that data includes who you add on your Facebook.

Facebook, being the enemy of privacy, loves this and threw open its doors to Leskovec, which allowed him to peg who you were going to friend next roughly 50% of the time. It turns out that we're fairly predictable and our past actions pretty much dictate our future ones. Needless to say, they're looking into applying that technology to their website, because it isn't nearly invasive enough yet. It's on their to-do memo along with "start forcing users to weigh in every week so we can track it" and "which orifices can we get them to insert a tracking device into if we ask?"

To be fair, Leskovec's research will actually have applications for the little guy as well. For example, it can provide a map of connections, meaning if you wanted to talk to a specific person at a company, you could tap your Facebook and find out who knows them. Of course, that could also mean that, say, your crazy ex or your loan shark can hunt you down, so, maybe that's not so awesome after all.

Photo: paul mansfield photography/Flickr/Getty Images