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Reply from Dirk Helbing to Tobias Galla

Dear Tobias,

 

Thank you very much for your feedback. We always welcome supportive and critical voices in favour of a fruitful and lively debate, which helps us to orient ourselves and collect new ideas to address difficult problems.

 

The purpose of our social media activities is to inform our community and the public about issues related to the fields of research relevant for FuturICT. This includes complex systems, the information society, and the related ethical and socio-economic opportunities and challenges. We are not engaged for or against a certain political party or movement. But we feature relevant contributions and trends and reflect on them in a way that stimulates interesting or needed debates.

 

Society expects from scientists that they help to inform the public and that they lead discussions, and make practically relevant contributions. This should not be restricted to technological solutions or marketable products. Scientists should also offer contributions to ethical or societal issues. Albert Einstein and many others have done this as well. In fact, many people think information technologies deserve a public ethical debate in the very same way as we have had a bioethical discussion in the past. I believe that the current discussion will be very important to learn how to unleash the great potentials of the information age and avoid the associated risks.

 

Within the FuturICT initiative, we have always supported a culture of openness and transparency, and welcomed criticism, because this has helped us to learn and improve, and to unleash creativity. If some of our social media posts may sometimes appear critical, this is not to make trouble to anyone. Our intention is to help decision-makers and society with the means we have.

 

When scientists come to the conclusion that a certain concept - be it technological, social, economic or political - will not work or may even cause high risks or large-scale disaster, it is the obligation of scientists to point this out. Scientists also need to create awareness of problems that need to be considered or discussed, even if there is no final conclusion, yet. Once we have proper research funding, we will be able to put our preliminary findings to the test, i.e. to substantiate or falsify them. We are taking our job as scientists very seriously.

 

It is important, however, to underline that it is Moore's law and the progress in information and communication technology which is driving societal change. Our role is to offer an interpretation of what is going on and what may be happening in the near future, and to provide better orientation and guidance in difficult times, where possible.

 

Our feedback shows that many people appreciate our work, even though not everybody always agrees - but that is part of a lively and pluralistic discussion culture. Please keep sending us your input and contributions that you would like to see posted.

 

Thank you very much and best wishes, Dirk

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FuturICT In the News
Daily updated digest of FuturICT and related topics in the media
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The Hidden Geometry of Complex, Network-Driven Contagion Phenomena

The global spread of epidemics, rumors, opinions, and innovations are complex, network-driven dynamic processes. The combined multiscale nature and intrinsic heterogeneity of the underlying networks make it difficult to develop an intuitive understanding of these processes, to distinguish relevant from peripheral factors, to predict their time course, and to locate their origin. However, we show that complex spatiotemporal patterns can be reduced to surprisingly simple, homogeneous wave propagation patterns, if conventional geographic distance is replaced by a probabilistically motivated effective distance. In the context of global, air-traffic–mediated epidemics, we show that effective distance reliably predicts disease arrival times. Even if epidemiological parameters are unknown, the method can still deliver relative arrival times. The approach can also identify the spatial origin of spreading processes and successfully be applied to data of the worldwide 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and 2003 SARS epidemic.

 

The Hidden Geometry of Complex, Network-Driven Contagion Phenomena
Dirk Brockmann, Dirk Helbing

Science 13 December 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6164 pp. 1337-1342
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1245200


Via Complexity Digest
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ComplexInsight's curator insight, December 31, 2013 3:59 AM

This is an awesome insight that needs tested across other datasets to find out how universal it is. Good paper.

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Mit dem Aero gegen die Krise. Dirk Helbing: Der ETH-Soziologieprofessor will das Geld- und Finanzsystem reformieren und das Euro-Problem lösen Handelszeitung, 3. April 2014.

FuturICT's insight:

Dirk Helbing: Geld ist eine grossartige Erfindung aber das Konzept ist ueberholt

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Reducing financial avalanches by random investments A Biondo, A Pluchino, A Rapisarda, Dirk Helbing

Reducing financial avalanches by random investments A Biondo, A Pluchino, A Rapisarda, Dirk Helbing | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
FuturICT's insight:

Building on similarities between earthquakes and extreme financial events, we use a self-organized criticality-generating model to study herding and avalanche dynamics in financial markets. We consider a community of interacting investors, distributed in a small-world network, who bet on the bullish (increasing) or bearish (decreasing) behavior of the market which has been specified according to the S&P 500 historical time series. Remarkably, we find that the size of herding-related avalanches in the community can be strongly reduced by the presence of a relatively small percentage of traders, randomly distributed inside the network, who adopt a random investment strategy. Our findings suggest a promising strategy to limit the size of financial bubbles and crashes. We also obtain that the resulting wealth distribution of all traders corresponds to the well-known Pareto power law, while that of random traders is exponential. In other words, for technical traders, the risk of losses is much greater than the probability of gains compared to those of random traders.

©2013 American Physical Society

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Un modelo predice el riesgo de propagación de pandemias según las conexiones de vuelos

Un modelo predice el riesgo de propagación de pandemias según las conexiones de vuelos | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Una enfermedad que surja en una gran ciudad se propagará a otras grandes ciudades, pero difícilmente a lugares remotos y aislados; en cambio si surge en un lugar remoto, se propagará rápidamente a una gran ciudad y posteriormente a otras.
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La diffusion mondiale des épidémies serait prévisible

La diffusion mondiale des épidémies serait prévisible | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Avec l'accroissement du trafic aérien, les épidémies peuvent se propager à grande vitesse autour du globe. Comme le montre une étude d'un duo de chercheurs suisse et allemand publiée dans la revue Science.
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Forscher berechnen die Geschwindigkeit von globalen Krankheiten

Forscher berechnen die Geschwindigkeit von globalen Krankheiten | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Krankheitserreger können sich heute rasend schnell rund um den Globus verbreiten. Forscher haben nun eine mathematische Formel gefunden, mit der sich die Ausbreitung einer Seuche vorhersagen lässt. Ein wichtiger Schritt in der Bekämpfung.
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Die verborgene Geometrie globaler Epidemien

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Die globale Ausbreitung von Krankheitserregern kann schwerwiegende gesundheitliche, gesellschaftliche und ökonomische Folgen haben...
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Modell sagt Ausbreitung von Seuchen voraus - science.ORF.at

Modell sagt Ausbreitung von Seuchen voraus - science.ORF.at | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Flughäfen sind die zentralen Punkte für die weltweite Ausbreitung von Krankheiten. Forscher haben deshalb aus Zahlen des Flugverkehrs ein Modell entwickelt, mit dem sich diese Ausbreitung vorhersagen lässt.
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Forscher berechnen die Geschwindigkeit von globalen Krankheiten - Raffael Schupisser

Forscher berechnen die Geschwindigkeit von globalen Krankheiten - Raffael Schupisser | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
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Air Transportation Data May Help Predict Disease Outbreaks: Scientists Develop New Mathematical Theory To Forecast Pandemics

Air Transportation Data May Help Predict Disease Outbreaks: Scientists Develop New Mathematical Theory To Forecast Pandemics | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Scientists study air transportation data to come up with a new computational model to help understand pandemics.
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Air transportation data, math can predict, track global pandemics

A new mathematical theory on the global spread of epidemics could help identify an outbreak's origin and how it might spread globally, researchers say.
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Air transportation data helps identify, predict pandemics - Homeland Security News Wire

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Erläuterungen zu „The hidden geometry of complex, network-driven contagion phenomena“, Science, 13 December 2013

FuturICT's insight:

Erläuterungen zu „The hidden geometry of complex, network-driven contagion phenomena“,
Science, 13 December 2013
Dirk Brockmann, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA,
jetzt Robert Koch-Institut und Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Dirk Helbing, ETH Zürich

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Modeling Complex Systems for Public Policies – a book project

The Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) – a Brazilian think-tank linked to the government – is making a request for proposals for eight IDB consultants to contribute with chapters to a seminal book on Complex Systems applied to Public Policies. On one hand, the project aims at pushing forward the modeling frontier, its methodologies and applications for the case of Brazil. On the other hand, the project pursues actual improvement on the understanding of public policies’ mechanisms and effects, through complex systems’ tools and concepts.
The book encompasses five broad themes: (1) concepts and methods; (2) computational tools; (3) public policy phenomena as complex systems (specifically: society, economics, ecology and the cities); (4) applied examples in the world and its emergence in Brazil; and (5) possibilities of prognosis, scenarios and policy-effect analysis using complex systems tools.
The consultant is expected to deliver a proposed extended summary, a preliminary version to be discussed in a seminar in Brazil (July-September 2014) and the final version of the chapter.

 

http://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php/?option=com_content&view=article&id=21745&Itemid=5


Via Complexity Digest, Ashish Umre
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Terrifying video reveals how London Heathrow can spread a pandemic in DAYS

Terrifying video reveals how London Heathrow can spread a pandemic in DAYS | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Theoretical physicists from Humboldt University, Berlin, have developed a system for predicting how rapidly a virus might spread and where.
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传染病预计到达的时间 - 神秘的地球 科学|自然|地理|探索

传染病预计到达的时间 - 神秘的地球 科学|自然|地理|探索 | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
该图显示了一个一套选定的模拟流行病(神秘的地球uux.cn)据EurekAlert!
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Die verborgene Geometrie globaler Seuchen - myScience / news/ news 2013

Die verborgene Geometrie globaler Seuchen - myScience / news/ news 2013 | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
12.12.2013 - Dirk Brockmann, Professor an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) und Projektgruppenleiter am Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI), hat mit seinem Kollegen Dirk Helbing von der ETH Zürich eine Theorie zur globalen Seuchenausbreitung entwickelt.
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Wzór na lotniskową epidemię

Wzór na lotniskową epidemię | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Europejscy specjaliści opracowali model przewidywania tempa ataku chorób zakaźnych. Kluczową rolę odgrywają w nim węzły komunikacyjne.
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Infektionsausbreitung: Vermessung der Welt 2.0 - medizin.at

Infektionsausbreitung: Vermessung der Welt 2.0 - medizin.at | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Neudefinition von Distanz als "effektive Entfernung" erlaubt mathematische Ausbreitungsprognose
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Forscher entschlüsseln den Pandemien-Algorithmus

Forscher entschlüsseln den Pandemien-Algorithmus | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
Bislang glaubte man, Seuchen würden sich recht chaotisch auf der Erde verbreiten. Mit Hilfe eines neuen mathematischen Modells soll die Ausbreitung von Keimen wie H1N1 und Sars vorhersehbar werden.
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How Viruses Take a Short Trip from London to NYC : DNews

How Viruses Take a Short Trip from London to NYC : DNews | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
For a traveling virus, a large metropolitan area on a different continent could be closer than a nearby town.
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Using Air Transportation Data to Predict Pandemics | News | McCormick School of Engineering | Northwestern University

Using Air Transportation Data to Predict Pandemics | News | McCormick School of Engineering | Northwestern University | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
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How Viruses Take the Short Trip from London to NYC

How Viruses Take the Short Trip from London to NYC | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
For a travelling virus, a large metropolitan area on a different continent could be closer than the nearby town. Using measures of connectivity between airports, rather than actual distances, researchers predict where an epidemic will strike next.
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Outbreak! Watch How Quickly An Epidemic Would Spread Across The World

Outbreak! Watch How Quickly An Epidemic Would Spread Across The World | FuturICT In the News | Scoop.it
A new model can predict the spread of any disease across the planet. All we need to do is reorganize our thinking of time and space.
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