Microsoft study disproves six degrees of separation

 

An analysis of Microsoft’s instant messaging system has concluded that there aren’t six degrees of separation between everyone -- the number is 6.6.

A team of researchers analysed 30 billion messages sent on the company’s instant messenger client to see if the theory that everyone can be linked to everyone else by six degrees of separation was accurate.

"To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity," Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who conducted the study with colleague Jure Leskovec, told the Washington Post.

"People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

The six degrees of separation argument, popularised by American psychologist Stanley Milgram, posits that everyone is one degree removed from people they know, two degrees from people their friends know and no more than six degrees away from everyone on the planet.

The idea has been around for nearly 100 years but has never been proven due to the difficulties of testing the hypothesis.

The Microsoft team came up with using data from their Messenger client. The researchers took an IM message between two unnamed individuals as a link and then examined how to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database

They found the actual number of links was 6.6, although 78 per cent of the world’s population can be linked in seven steps or less. However some took over twenty links to find a connection.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk


Microsoft study disproves six degrees of separation
 
 
 
Top Stories
The True Cost of BYOD - 2014 survey
Twelve months on from our first study, is BYOD a better proposition?
 
ANZ looks to life beyond the transaction
If digital disruptors think an online payments startup could rock the big four, they’ve missed the point of why people use banks, says Patrick Maes.
 
What InfoSec can learn from the insurance industry
[Blog post] Another way data breach laws could help manage risk.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Pass on carbon tax savings, warns ACCC
Jul 24, 2014
The ACCC is warning businesses that supply "regulated goods" to pass on any cost savings ...
Have customers that won't pay debts?
Jul 10, 2014
The ACCC and ASIC have updated their advice when it comes to collecting debts.
Carpet cleaner faces court over online testimonials
Jul 4, 2014
The ACCC has initiated proceedings against A Whistle (1979) Pty Ltd, the franchisor of Electrodry...
You can now get 15GB of free online storage using Microsoft OneDrive
Jun 25, 2014
Cloud storage has reached both the capacity and price where it's a viable alternative to local ...
Another clever trick you can perform with Xero
Jun 25, 2014
Here is another way to reach out to particular subsets of your customers using Xero.
Latest Comments
Polls
What is delaying adoption of public cloud in your organisation?







   |   View results
Lock-in concerns
  29%
 
Application integration concerns
  3%
 
Security and compliance concerns
  27%
 
Unreliable network infrastructure
  9%
 
Data sovereignty concerns
  21%
 
Lack of stakeholder support
  3%
 
Protecting on-premise IT jobs
  4%
 
Difficulty transitioning CapEx budget into OpEx
  3%
TOTAL VOTES: 1051

Vote