Book Mailing: Starting February 5, unsigned hardcover copies of The Hype Machine will be shipped to paid registrants.
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Book Synopsis: A landmark insider’s tour of how social media affects our decision-making and shapes our world in ways both useful and dangerous, with critical ideas on how to protect ourselves in the 2020 election and beyond
MIT professor Sinan Aral isn’t only one of the world’s leading experts on social media—he’s also an entrepreneur and investor, giving him an unparalleled 360-degree view of the technology’s great promise as well as its outsize capacity to damage our politics, our economy, and even our personal health.
Drawing on two decades of his own research and business experience, Aral goes under the hood of the biggest, most powerful social networks to tackle the critical question of just how much social media actually shapes our choices, for better or worse. Aral shows how the tech behind social media offers the same set of behavior-influencing levers to both Russian hackers and brand marketers—to everyone who hopes to change the way we think and act—which is why its consequences affect everything from elections to business, dating to health. Along the way, he covers a wide array of topics, including how network effects fuel Twitter’s and Facebook’s massive growth to the neuroscience of how social media affects our brains, the real consequences of fake news, the power of social ratings, and the impact of social media on our kids.
In mapping out strategies for being more thoughtful consumers of social media, The Hype Machine offers the definitive guide to understanding and harnessing for good the technology that has redefined our world overnight.
About Our Speaker: Sinan Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, IT, Marketing and Data Science at MIT, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and a founding partner at Manifest Capital.
He was the Chief Scientist at SocialAmp, one of the first social commerce analytics companies (from 2009 until its sale to Merkle in 2012) and at Humin, a social platform that the Wall Street Journal called the first “Social Operating System” (from 2012 until its sale to Tinder in 2016). He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Alan Turing Institute, the British National Institute for Data Science in London, the Centre for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation in Bergen, Norway and C6 Bank, one of the first all-digital banks of Brazil. Sinan was the Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times in 2013 and has worked closely with Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, Yahoo, AirBnB, Jet.com, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Oracle, SAP and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from big data analytics, social media and IT investments.
Sinan’s research and teaching have won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Fulbright Scholarship, the Jamieson Award for Teaching Excellence (MIT Sloan’s highest teaching honor) and more than ten best paper awards conferred by his colleagues in research. In 2014, he was named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” and, in 2018, became the youngest ever recipient of the Herbert Simon Award of Rajk László College in Budapest, Hungary. In 2018, Sinan published what Altmetrics called the second most influential scientific publication of the year on the “Spread of False News Online,” on the cover of Science. He is also the author of the book The Hype Machine, about how social media is disrupting our elections, our economies and our lives.
Sinan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, holds Master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard University, and received his PhD from MIT. He enjoys cooking, skiing and telling jokes about his own cooking and skiing. His most recent hobby is learning from his seven-year-old son. You can find Sinan on Twitter @sinanaral and on Instagram @professorsinan.
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