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▶ Explaining things with flow

This is a short presentation of what you can do with a software called Bayesian Dynamical Systems. It can be used to find patterns in large amounts of data and is the result of a cooperation between Uppsala University and the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm.

Here the software is used to study the relation between economic growth and democracy, presented by David Sumpter.

The software is available i R: http://cran.r-project.org/web/package...

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Videos from the NESS Policy Conference: Feedbacks, Fragility and Failure

Videos from the NESS Policy Conference: Feedbacks, Fragility and Failure | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

NESS organised a policy-oriented conference in London on October 2014, where there were discussed practical implications of policy making.

Videos from the conference are now available at NESS:

* Charles Bean, Former Deputy Governor, Bank of England, discussed Macro-prudential Regulation http://www.nessnet.eu/2015/01/19/charlie-bean-at-the-ness-policy-conference-macro-prudential-regulation/
* David Tuckett, Director of the Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty Psychoanalysis, University College London, discussed Psychological Foundations of Macro-prudential policy http://www.nessnet.eu/2015/01/19/david-tuckett-at-the-ness-policy-conference-psychological-foundations-of-macro-prudential-policy/
* Mike Batty, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London, discussed infrastructure, decision-making and cities http://www.nessnet.eu/2015/01/19/mike-batty-at-the-ness-policy-conference-cities-are-far-from-equilibrium/
* Paul Ormerod, Volterra Partners LLP, London, discussed how are decisions made http://www.nessnet.eu/2015/01/19/paul-ormerod-at-the-ness-policy-conference-how-are-decisions-made/
* Bridget Rosewell, Volterra Partners LLP, London, discussed transport infrastructures and economics http://www.nessnet.eu/2015/01/18/bridget-rosewell-at-the-ness-policy-conference-transport-infrastructures-and-economics/
* Greg Fisher, Chief Executive of Synthesis, discussed uncertainty and policy making http://www.nessnet.eu/2015/01/18/greg-fisher-at-the-ness-policy-conference-uncertainty-and-policy-making/

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Lorien Pratt's curator insight, January 19, 2:29 PM

Non-equilibrium social sciences model the dynamic nature of things: systems in motion instead of the simplifying assumption of traditional modeling where we only consider equilibrium states.  Non-equilibrium modeling applies to decision making, transportation, economics, policy-making, and more. 

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Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines

The gender imbalance in STEM subjects dominates current debates about women’s underrepresentation in academia. However, women are well represented at the Ph.D. level in some sciences and poorly represented in some humanities (e.g., in 2011, 54% of U.S. Ph.D.’s in molecular biology were women versus only 31% in philosophy). We hypothesize that, across the academic spectrum, women are underrepresented in fields whose practitioners believe that raw, innate talent is the main requirement for success, because women are stereotyped as not possessing such talent. This hypothesis extends to African Americans’ underrepresentation as well, as this group is subject to similar stereotypes. Results from a nationwide survey of academics support our hypothesis (termed the field-specific ability beliefs hypothesis) over three competing hypotheses.

 

Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines
Sarah-Jane Leslie, Andrei Cimpian, Meredith Meyer, Edward Freeland

Science 16 January 2015:
Vol. 347 no. 6219 pp. 262-265
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1261375 ;


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Big Data: The Key Vocabulary Everyone Should Understand

Big Data: The Key Vocabulary Everyone Should Understand | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

The field of Big Data requires more clarity and I am a big fan of simple explanations. This is why I have attempted to provide simple explanations for some of the most important technologies and terms you will come across if you’re looking at getting into big data.

(...)

by  Bernard Marr

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Global Economic Growth: All Productivity, All The Time

Global Economic Growth: All Productivity, All The Time | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
The growth of an economy can be divided into two parts: growth of population, and growth of output per person, which is commonly known as "productivity." The McKinsey Global Institute looks at these patterns over th

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Computational fact checking from knowledge networks

Traditional fact checking by expert journalists cannot keep up with the enormous volume of information that is now generated online. Computational fact checking may significantly enhance our ability to evaluate the veracity of dubious information. Here we show that the complexities of human fact checking can be approximated quite well by finding the shortest path between concept nodes under properly defined semantic proximity metrics on knowledge graphs. Framed as a network problem this approach is feasible with efficient computational techniques. We evaluate this approach by examining tens of thousands of claims related to history, entertainment, geography, and biographical information using a public knowledge graph extracted from Wikipedia. Statements independently known to be true consistently receive higher support via our method than do false ones. These findings represent a significant step toward scalable computational fact-checking methods that may one day mitigate the spread of harmful misinformation.

 

Computational fact checking from knowledge networks
Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Prashant Shiralkar, Luis M. Rocha, Johan Bollen, Filippo Menczer, Alessandro Flammini

http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.03471


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Participatory arts projects have the potential to reconnect communities with politics

Participatory arts projects have the potential to reconnect communities with politics | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

The vocabulary of ‘social return’, ‘intellectual productive capacity’, ‘economic generation’ may well grate against the traditional values of the arts and culture community but it is a shadow that cannot be ignored. But  suggests the true value of the arts lies more in how it responds to the rise of disaffected democrats. In a time of increasing political disengagement, especially amongst the young and the poor, he argues that participatory arts projects provide a way of reconnecting communities.

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Charlie Bean at the NESS Policy Conference: Macro-prudential regulation

Charlie Bean, former Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy at the Bank of England, discussed Macro-prudential Regulation at the NESS Policy-Oriented Conference in Lon...

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David Tuckett at the NESS Policy Conference: Psychological Foundations of Macro-prudential policy

David Tuckett, from University College London, discussed Psychological Foundations of Macro-prudential policy at the NESS Policy-Oriented Conference in Londo...
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Greg Fisher at the NESS Policy Conference: uncertainty and policy making

Greg Fisher, Chief Executive at Synthesis, discussed uncertainty and policy making at the NESS Policy-Oriented Conference in London, October 2014.

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How Software in Half of NYC Cabs Generates $5.2 Million a Year in Extra Tips

How Software in Half of NYC Cabs Generates $5.2 Million a Year in Extra Tips | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
How Software in Half of NYC Cabs Generates $5.2 Million a Year in Extra Tips So a story in Businessweek caught my eye the other day. It discussed NYC taxi rider tipping habits and concluded that...
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A study with erroneous claims about the impacts of global warming has finally been corrected

A study with erroneous claims about the impacts of global warming has finally been corrected | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

A journal article claiming that moderate amounts of global warming have overall positive benefits has been quietly corrected after Bob Ward pointed out a number of errors. The updated analysis now claims “impacts are always negative”, but the erroneous findings have been used to inform a recent report by the IPCC which still needs to be corrected. This episode underlines the need for greater transparency from academic journals and by researchers.

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Follow the Leader: Herding Behavior in Heterogeneous Populations

Here we study the emergence of spontaneous leadership in large populations. In standard models of opinion dynamics, herding behavior is only obeyed at the local scale due to the interaction of single agents with their neighbors; while at the global scale, such models are governed by purely diffusive processes. Surprisingly, in this paper we show that the combination of a strong separation of time scales within the population and a hierarchical organization of the influences of some agents on the others induces a phase transition between a purely diffusive phase, as in the standard case, and a herding phase where a fraction of the agents self-organize and lead the global opinion of the whole population.

 

Follow the Leader: Herding Behavior in Heterogeneous Populations
Guillem Mosquera-Donate, Marian Boguna

http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.7427


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Non-Equilibrium Social Science and the Regeneration of Local Economies

NESS held a workshop on this theme with local policy makers in Rochdale, a borough in Greater Manchester. John Blundell is an elected local councillor and is Deputy Chairman of the Economic Regeneration Committee in Rochdale. Paul Ormerod is a member of the committee of the NESS project.

In this short paper, (available here: http://nessnet.eu/docs/NessRochdaleJuly2014.pdf), Blundell and Ormerod identify key principles of non-equilibrium, complexity based social science which are of direct policy relevance to relatively deprived, post-industrial towns across the EU, of which Rochdale is an example:

* Lock-in and path dependence. Once a local area becomes relatively deprived, this tends to persist for long periods of time

 

* Positive feedbacks. Agglomeration effects, namely the benefits which arise from high densities of employment in a local area, raise productivity levels across the local economy as a whole, and make it an even more attractive location for companies

 

* Resilience. The ability of a local economy to respond to shocks, whether general or specific, is an important issue. This is not a timeless phenomenon, in which we simply compare one equilibrium with the new one, the process by which this happens is crucial

 

* Tipping points. There is a critical mass of agglomeration, beyond which further rises in employment density bring considerably greater increases in productivity

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Cognition and behavior

An important question in the debate over embodied, enactive, and extended cognition has been what has been meant by “cognition”. What is this cognition that is supposed to be embodied, enactive, or extended? Rather than undertake a frontal assault on this question, however, this paper will take a different approach. In particular, we may ask how cognition is supposed to be related to behavior. First, we could ask whether cognition is supposed to be (a type of) behavior. Second, we could ask whether we should attempt to understand cognitive processes in terms of antecedently understood cognitive behaviors. This paper will survey some of the answers that have been (implicitly or explicitly) given in the embodied, enactive, and extended cognition literature, then suggest reasons to believe that we should answer both questions in the negative.

 

Cognition and behavior
Ken Aizawa

Synthese
January 2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-014-0645-5 ;


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A Unifying Theory for Scaling Laws of Human Populations

The spatial distribution of people exhibits clustering across a wide range of scales, from household to continental  scales. Empirical data indicates simple power-law scalings for the size distribution of cities (known as Zipf's law), the geographic distribution of friends, and the population density fluctuations as a function of scale. We derive a simple statistical model that explains all of these scaling laws based on a single unifying principle involving the random spatial growth of clusters of people on all scales. The model makes important new predictions for the spread of diseases and other social phenomena.

 

A Unifying Theory for Scaling Laws of Human Populations
Henry W. Lin, Abraham Loeb

http://arxiv.org/abs/1501.00738


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Human-Data Interaction: The Human Face of the Data-Driven Society

The increasing generation and collection of personal data has created a complex ecosystem, often collaborative but sometimes combative, around companies and individuals engaging in the use of these data. We propose that the interactions between these agents warrants a new topic of study: Human-Data Interaction (HDI). In this paper we discuss how HDI sits at the intersection of various disciplines, including computer science, statistics, sociology, psychology and behavioural economics. We expose the challenges that HDI raises, organised into three core themes of legibility, agency and negotiability, and we present the HDI agenda to open up a dialogue amongst interested parties in the personal and big data ecosystems.

 

Human-Data Interaction: The Human Face of the Data-Driven Society
Richard Mortier, Hamed Haddadi, Tristan Henderson, Derek McAuley, Jon Crowcroft

http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.6159


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The multilayer temporal network of public transport in Great Britain

The multilayer temporal network of public transport in Great Britain | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Despite the widespread availability of information concerning public transport coming from different sources, it is extremely hard to have a complete picture, in particular at a national scale. Here, we integrate timetable data obtained from the United Kingdom open-data program together with timetables of domestic flights, and obtain a comprehensive snapshot of the temporal characteristics of the whole UK public transport system for a week in October 2010. In order to focus on multi-modal aspects of the system, we use a coarse graining procedure and define explicitly the coupling between different transport modes such as connections at airports, ferry docks, rail, metro, coach and bus stations. The resulting weighted, directed, temporal and multilayer network is provided in simple, commonly used formats, ensuring easy access and the possibility of a straightforward use of old or specifically developed methods on this new and extensive dataset.

 

The multilayer temporal network of public transport in Great Britain
Riccardo Gallotti & Marc Barthelemy

Scientific Data, Published online: 6 January 2015; | http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2014.56


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'Reviving the Art Beat' in Rochdale in association with NESS

NESS has been working to bridge the gaps between both complexity theory and practice, and art and science. NESS has collaborated actively with the leadership of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, a town with a population of just over 200,000, about 15 kilometres from Manchester. Rochdale was one of the places where the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, but for some time now has been a poor town in UK terms.

We held a workshop in the town, involving local politicians, in July 2014 to identify the relevance of non-equilibrium social science to the economic revival of Rochdale.

In October, the Leader of the Council and senior colleagues visited Warsaw, on a trip organised by NESS, to see how art has been used as catalyst for revival in the old industrial areas of East Warsaw.

In December 2014, in collaboration with the Council, we ran a participatory art exhibition in a depressed part of the town centre. This was a pilot, small scale study to establish feasibility. It has been a great success. The title ‘Reviving the Art-Beat’, conveys both art and revival. In the local dialect, the initial ‘h’ at the beginning of a word is often omitted, so the word ‘heart’ – as in ‘heart of the town’, ‘heart of the revival’ –is often pronounced ‘art’.

One unexpected thing to emerge from the event is a network of artists in the borough. They plan to continue the project, and collaborate across the range of arts, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture, music and so on. The official data says only 37 people are employed in the cultural and creative industries, but the project has shown there are many more people in the area who live for their art.

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Mike Batty at the NESS Policy Conference: Cities are Far-from-Equilibrium

Mike Batty, from University College London, discussed infrastructure, decision-making and cities at the NESS Policy-Oriented Conference in London, October 2014.
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Paul Ormerod at the NESS Policy Conference: how are decisions made

Paul Ormerod, from Volterra Partners (London), discussed how are decisions made, at the NESS Policy-Oriented Conference in London, October 2014.
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Bridget Rosewell at the NESS Policy Conference: transport infrastructures and economics

Bridget Rosewell, from Volterra Partners (London), discussed transport infrastructures and economics at the NESS Policy-Oriented Conference in London, Octobe...

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What do you think about machines that think?

What do you think about machines that think? | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

In recent years, the 1980s-era philosophical discussions about artificial intelligence (AI)—whether computers can "really" think, refer, be conscious, and so on—have led to new conversations about how we should deal with the forms that many argue actually are implemented. These "AIs", if they achieve "Superintelligence" (Nick Bostrom), could pose "existential risks" that lead to "Our Final Hour" (Martin Rees). And Stephen Hawking recently made international headlines when he noted "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

But wait! Should we also ask what machines that think, or, "AIs", might be thinking about? Do they want, do they expect civil rights? Do they have feelings? What kind of government (for us) would an AI choose? What kind of society would they want to structure for themselves? Or is "their" society "our" society? Will we, and the AIs, include each other within our respective circles of empathy?

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Declinism: is the world actually getting worse?

Declinism: is the world actually getting worse? | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
Pete Etchells: A recent survey suggests that 71% of people think that the world is going to the dogs. Are things actually that bad, or is it a psychological trick of the mind?
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Computational Aspects of Ancient Social Heterarchies: Learning how to Address Contemporary Global Challenges

As hierarchically and centrally controlled computational systems, contemporary political systems have limitations in their information processing and action capacities to face the current social crises and challenges. In contrast, some older cultures whose political structure was more heterarchically organized, such as found in pre-Hispanic Colombia, were adaptive even without advanced scientific knowledge and without powerful top-down control. In this context, we propose that creating and analyzing computer models of their decentralized processes of management can provide a broader perspective on the possibilities of political organization. In terms of self-optimization, this approach seeks the promotion of social systems with a balance of flexibility and robustness, i.e., systems that do not rely on the current ideal of rule-based control of all systemic aspects.

 

Computational Aspects of Ancient Social Heterarchies: Learning how to Address Contemporary Global Challenges
Nathalie Mezza-Garcia, Tom Froese, Nelson Fernández

Journal of Sociocybernetics Vol 12, No 1/2 (2014) 

https://papiro.unizar.es/ojs/index.php/rc51-jos/article/view/797

 


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