You Know that I Know that they Know

If someone is familiar with Clifton Strengths finder, then they have probably heard of the strength Connectedness. From what I can remember, the point is that every event is about a previous event. People with this strength can, therefore, leverage it by bringing people together or seeing the continuity of their strategy down the line. I will admit that I didn’t want to merit it. Sometimes, things just happen randomly. However, what if it isn’t? What if, it was a cascade of decisions by the numerous 6 degrees affecting seemingly random events and vice versa?

This is what I gathered from the Watts-Strogatz model. They zeroed in on how a seemingly large world can be made into small worlds by multiple random links that connect the individual unit as noticed in nature. That was interesting to me. Some natural behavior, much like the chirping of crickets, can only be activated if part of a cluster of chirping. Isn’t that the same as humans? They hustle and bustle when part of a bigger activity. Those seemingly random links become less random when there is a need to traverse them. It’s survival. It’s instinct. And yet, only now with the power of technology can we fully leverage this power.

Sometimes, the links aren’t even established yet. In the case of how the study of Watts and Strogatz led to helping Barabasi going deeper into the small words to finding out what merits can be derived. From my understanding, he found what makes small worlds work. They won’t function without the clusters or the hubs where the links pass to and from. They are the battery on which the cluster system relies on. By that analogy, protecting the hub means to protect the system. This means, if we follow the 6 degrees of separation, anyone can get to that hub in about 6 connections. So now which side of the moral compass will people benefit from? To harm and be harmed or share to expand. Nothing is that black and white, is it?

From small worlds to hubs to the application of both Vespignani and Vidal, even studies and discoveries created a channel that leads to more discoveries such as the rationale as to why travel bans are only band-aid solutions and do not serve to eliminate the spread. At the very least, network science could provide insight as to which channels are better left accessible to share resources. You know that I know that they would have known that if they had the chance to analyze the channels while removing the fear factor. Although, social unrest isn’t helping nor is the conspiracy theory deriving from “misinformation of network”.

Despite all having links going all sorts of ways, each one is still personalized. Vidal mentioned that the breakthrough he has when it came to mapping proteins is that the cure for cancer is not a one size fits all. It has to be personalized. In my opinion, if we were talking about the weights of the links, then personalized connections are the way to do it. Take for example, in an RPG game. If you use level points to upgrade skills equally, then you won’t be able to be strong enough against the opponents. It might even make playing passed certain levels impossible. However, if you give weight to one or a few then that channel of power becomes stronger and more reliable. I believe that it is this personalization that determines the strength of the link. So, if I add this to the analysis of a hub, then I can isolate those channels to the hub by weight and apply weighted solutions corresponding to what the channel demands. So I am interested in learning to analyze the weights of these channels and their impact on the protection or destruction of the hub dependent small world system that was created by network science analysis.

This essay was a requirement under the Network Science class where they were asked to watch Connected: The Power of Six Degrees directed by Annamaria Talas and react to it. This essay has been published with permission from the author, one of my MSDS students. - Prof. E