Laboratory for Social Machines

The Laboratory for Social Machines is dedicated to analyzing and empowering human networks that range from in-person groups — like families of children in public schools — to virtual clusters on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

For example, LSM’s recent “Electome” project analyzed public conversations and social networks surrounding the 2016 US Presidential Election as they formed and evolved on Twitter.  Our “Playful Words” project aims to tackle illiteracy in underserved communities through a mobile app that engages a child’s social network in her learning process.  And our collection of “Deep Listening” projects seek out unheard voices across the country to analyze and better understand the concerns and hopes of residents who represent America’s social fabric.

All of these efforts are powered by a public/private sector, multi-stakeholder approach that combines human and machine intelligence in pursuit of a more robust civil society.


LSM researchers are developing data science methods — primarily based on natural language processing, network science, and machine learning — to map and analyze social systems, and designs tools that empower human networks. We have an interdisciplinary team with backgrounds that include machine learning & AI, interaction design, cognitive science, child development & education, journalism, marketing, and constitutional law. We are committed to deploying our research through partnerships with external organizations such as the news media, education non-profits, businesses and advocacy groups.