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Keynote | Business

Monitoring world geopolitics through Big Data

Friday 17th | 12:00 - 12:30 | Theatre 19

One-liner summary:

Information from the media enables us to answer question which couldn't be solved before. Our developed tools lets us to quantify events in real time supposing a milestone in the geopolitical arena.

Keywords defining the session:

- Big Data

- Geopolitics

- Social Unrest


The geopolitical panorama in 2017 and last years is dominating the world agenda and posing tough challenges for the entire world. Given the increasing importance and economic relevance of geopolitical analysis, the fact that risks have become mostly global with broad and rapid propagation capacity and that we don’t have rich data sets to measure, track and describe geopolitical activity, we have developed a set of new tools to track and quantify the key geopolitical trends and their interconnections in the global economy using GDELT (Global Database of Events, Language and Tone). It is a real-time global open-source database of human society according to the world’s news media, reaching deep into local events, reactions and emotions of every place of the world in almost real time. All this information is freely available to research, analyse, visualise and even forecast human society according to global news coverage. It also includes a comprehensive and high-resolution catalogue of geo-referenced socio-political events from 1979 to the present. GDELT monitors every accessible print, broadcast and online news report around the globe every 15 minutes in over 100 languages. Information is processed using a vast pipeline of algorithms to identify hundreds of categories of events (from protests to appeals for peace), thousands of emotions (from anxiety to happiness) capturing the most important events across the planet; identifying millions of narrative themes (from women’s rights to clean water access) and the involved people, organizations, locations, themes, as well as the tone and emotions of each article. This innovative database allows us to release several tools by means of Big Data which illustrate our geo-strategic analysis in a visual and comprehensive way in aiming to understand the social, political and geostrategic trends in parallel with the dynamics of the global economy. The development of these tools has supposed a milestone in the geopolitical analysis, since it lets us to answer new questions and to measure events which we could not quantify before. Our set of tools ranges from the construction of real time indices such as the conflict and social unrest intensity indices to dynamic maps exploiting the temporal and geographic dimension, allowing to study potential contagion effects. We also exploit the inter-connections between people, organizations, locations, themes and emotions found in each monitored article to construct networks, analyse spill-overs effects and identify shocks propagation mechanisms to understand their interconnectedness and explore how risks may propagate. Summing up, Big Data and data science techniques offer huge opportunities for research in the geopolitical arena. Data from the media allows to enrich our analysis and to incorporate these insights into our models to capture nonlinear behaviour and feedback effects of human interaction, assessing their global impact on the society and enabling us to construct fragility indices and early warning systems.