The MIT Media Lab is kicking off a new “Laboratory for Social Machines” to explore new forms of social networking, as well as analysing existing platforms. Or, in its words: “The new initiative, based at the Media Lab, will focus on the development of new technologies to make sense of semantic and social patterns across the broad span of public mass media, social media, data streams, and digital content.” Twitter is stumping up $10m over five years to fund the new lab, while providing access to its firehose of public tweets. Which will handily give it an early look at some of the lab’s other planned projects: “A main goal for the LSM will be to create new platforms for both individuals and institutions to identify, discuss, and act on pressing societal problems.” MIT and Twitter already have one strong link: MIT associate professor Deb Roy is also Twitter’s chief scientist.

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