Non-Equilibrium Social Science
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Non-Equilibrium Social Science
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Cooperation Is What Makes Us Human

Cooperation Is What Makes Us Human | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

For decades Tomasello has explored what makes humans distinctive. His conclusion? We cooperate. Many species, from ants to orcas to our primate cousins, cooperate in the wild. But Tomasello has identified a special form of cooperation. In his view, humans alone are capable of shared intentionality—they intuitively grasp what another person is thinking and act toward a common goal, as the subway rescuers did. This supremely human cognitive ability, Tomasello says, launched our species on its extraordinary trajectory. It forged language, tools, and cultures—stepping-stones to our colonization of every corner of the planet.

In his most recent research, Tomasello has begun to look at the dark side of cooperation. “We are primates, and primates compete with one another,” Tomasello says. He explains cooperation evolved on top of a deep-seated competitive drive. “In many ways, this is the human dilemma,” he says.

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Now happening: a real-time map of everyone who’s clicked that ‘I voted’ button on Facebook

Now happening: a real-time map of everyone who’s clicked that ‘I voted’ button on Facebook | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

You may be seeing a ton of activity on Facebook today related to the election. Maybe you've even clicked Facebook's button that notifies all your friends that you've voted. If so, you're one of several million users who've done so.

As you might expect, Facebook is collecting data on all those people. And, according to its numbers, the button is popular: Users are clicking it at a rate of 358,000 per hour. Most of them so far are based on the East Coast because of the earlier time zone, but expect that to change as more people get to the polls over the day.

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Visualizing the “Heartbeat” of a City with Tweets

Visualizing the “Heartbeat” of a City with Tweets | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Describing the dynamics of a city is a crucial step to both understanding the human activity in urban environments and to planning and designing cities accordingly. Here we describe the collective dynamics of New York City and surrounding areas as seen through the lens of Twitter usage. In particular, we observe and quantify the patterns that emerge naturally from the hourly activities in different areas of New York City, and discuss how they can be used to understand the urban areas. Using a dataset that includes more than 6 million geolocated Twitter messages we construct a movie of the geographic density of tweets. We observe the diurnal “heartbeat” of the NYC area. The largest scale dynamics are the waking and sleeping cycle and commuting from residential communities to office areas in Manhattan. Hourly dynamics reflect the interplay of commuting, work and leisure, including whether people are preoccupied with other activities or actively using Twitter. Differences between weekday and weekend dynamics point to changes in when people wake and sleep, and engage in social activities. We show that by measuring the average distances to the heart of the city one can quantify the weekly differences and the shift in behavior during weekends. We also identify locations and times of high Twitter activity that occur because of specific activities. These include early morning high levels of traffic as people arrive and wait at air transportation hubs, and on Sunday at the Meadowlands Sports Complex and Statue of Liberty. We analyze the role of particular individuals where they have large impacts on overall Twitter activity. Our analysis points to the opportunity to develop insight into both geographic social dynamics and attention through social media analysis.

 

U. França, H. Sayama, C. McSwiggen, R. Daneshvar and Y. Bar-Yam, Visualizing the “Heartbeat” of a City with Tweets.

http://www.necsi.edu/research/social/nypattern.html


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There’s a new way to quantify structure and complexity

There’s a new way to quantify structure and complexity | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
A new way to measure structure and complexity can help explain how information sharing among the parts of a system is related to its behaviors on different scales.

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A typology of street patterns

We propose a quantitative method to classify cities according to their street pattern. We use the conditional probability distribution of shape factor of blocks with a given area and define what could constitute the ‘fingerprint’ of a city. Using a simple hierarchical clustering method, these fingerprints can then serve as a basis for a typology of cities. We apply this method to a set of 131 cities in the world, and at an intermediate level of the dendrogram, we observe four large families of cities characterized by different abundances of blocks of a certain area and shape. At a lower level of the classification, we find that most European cities and American cities in our sample fall in their own sub-category, highlighting quantitatively the differences between the typical layouts of cities in both regions. We also show with the example of New York and its different boroughs, that the fingerprint of a city can be seen as the sum of the ones characterizing the different neighbourhoods inside a city. This method provides a quantitative comparison of urban street patterns, which could be helpful for a better understanding of the causes and mechanisms behind their distinct shapes.

 

A typology of street patterns
Rémi Louf, Marc Barthelemy

http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2014.0924

J. R. Soc. Interface 6 December 2014 vol. 11 no. 101 20140924

Also at http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.2094


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On Ethical and Intellectual Failures in Contemporary Economics

Contemporary Anglo-American economics, which I admire, faces two major obstacles. First, in its drive at least since Milton Freedman to be a positive science free of normative issues, it ignores its own current intellectual foundations buried at the heart of its analysis of the “advantages of trade”: Fairness. Second, the major driver of economic growth in the past 50,000 years has been the explosion of goods and production capacities from perhaps 1,000 to 10,000 long ago, to perhaps 10 billion goods and production capacities today. Economics, lacking a theory for this explosion, deals with this explosion by ignoring it and treating it as “exogenous” to its theory.
The “Edgeworth Box” carries the heart of advantages of trade, demonstrating for properly curved isoutility curves a region where you and I are better-off trading some of my apples for some of your pears. The ratio of these in trade constitutes price. But spanning the region of advantages of trade is the famous CONTRACT CURVE, where we have exhausted all the advantages of trade. Different points on the curve correspond to different prices. But the Contract Curve is Pareto Optimal, motion on the curve can only make one of us better-off at the expense of the other. Critically, economics has NO THEORY for where we end up on the Contract Curve. Nor, since different points on the curve correspond to different prices, can PRICE settle the issue.
Using the Ultimatum Game I will show that FAIRNESS typically drives where we settle on the Contract Curve, as long as we do not have to trade with one another. Thus ethics enters economics at its foundation, yet cannot be mathematized, so is ignored in Freedman’s name of a positive science.
Perhaps more important, unlike physics, no laws entail the evolution of either the biosphere or the “econosphere.” There are no laws of motion whose integration would entail that evolution. Lacking an entailing theory of the growth of the economy in diversity, often of new goods and production capacities, economists ignore the most important feature of economic growth, wrongly treating it as “exogenous.”
The failures above are likely to play major roles in the lapse to mere greed in our major financial institutions, and in our inadequate capacities to help drive growth in much of the poverty-struck world.

 

Stuart Kauffman (2014), On Ethical and Intellectual Failures in Contemporary Economics, in Steven Horwitz , Roger Koppl (ed.) Entangled Political Economy (Advances in Austrian Economics, Volume 18) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.259 - 282

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S1529-213420140000018012


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Can Government Be Self-Organized? A Mathematical Model of the Collective Social Organization of Ancient Teotihuacan, Central Mexico

Can Government Be Self-Organized? A Mathematical Model of the Collective Social Organization of Ancient Teotihuacan, Central Mexico | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Teotihuacan was the first urban civilization of Mesoamerica and one of the largest of the ancient world. Following a tradition in archaeology to equate social complexity with centralized hierarchy, it is widely believed that the city’s origin and growth was controlled by a lineage of powerful individuals. However, much data is indicative of a government of co-rulers, and artistic traditions expressed an egalitarian ideology. Yet this alternative keeps being marginalized because the problems of collective action make it difficult to conceive how such a coalition could have functioned in principle. We therefore devised a mathematical model of the city’s hypothetical network of representatives as a formal proof of concept that widespread cooperation was realizable in a fully distributed manner. In the model, decisions become self-organized into globally optimal configurations even though local representatives behave and modify their relations in a rational and selfish manner. This self-optimization crucially depends on occasional communal interruptions of normal activity, and it is impeded when sections of the network are too independent. We relate these insights to theories about community-wide rituals at Teotihuacan and the city’s eventual disintegration.

 

Froese, T., Gershenson, C., and Manzanilla, L. R. (2014). Can government be self-organized? a mathematical model of the collective social organization of ancient teotihuacan, central mexico.PLoS ONE 9 (10) (10): e109966.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Infographics Are Made

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Infographics Are Made | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
It’s been said that we’re living in the golden age of data visualization. And why shouldn’t we be? Every move we make is potential fodder for a bar chart or line graph. Regardless of how you feel about our constant quantification, its been a boon for designers who have made some exceptional infographics—and some not…
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​There Are Only Four Types of City in the World, Says Math

​There Are Only Four Types of City in the World, Says Math | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
Physicists discover that Brooklyn has a touch of Brussels and that Buenos Aires is in a class all its own.
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Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?

Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
Researchers are divided over what processes should be considered fundamental.

Via Jorge Louçã
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Top Ten Internet Languages

Top Ten Internet Languages | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
The top ten language groups of Internet users are currently English, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, German, French, and Malay.

Via Jorge Louçã
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Europe’s Austerity Zombies, by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Europe’s Austerity Zombies, by Joseph E. Stiglitz | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they continue to deny reality. Austerity has failed. But its defenders are willing to claim victory on the basis of the weakest possible evidence: the economy is no longer collapsing, so austerity must be working! But if that is the benchmark, we could say that jumping off a cliff is the best way to get down from a mountain; after all, the descent has been stopped.
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The Past, Present, and Future of Artificial Life | Computational Intelligence

Wendy Aguilar, Guillermo Santamaría Bonfil1, Tom Froese1 and Carlos Gershenson

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico 

 

For millennia people have wondered what makes the living different from the non-living. Beginning in the mid-1980s, artificial life has studied living systems using a synthetic approach: build life in order to understand it better, be it by means of software, hardware, or wetware. This review provides a summary of the advances that led to the development of artificial life, its current research topics, and open problems and opportunities. We classify artificial life research into fourteen themes: origins of life, autonomy, self-organization, adaptation (including evolution, development, and learning), ecology, artificial societies, behavior, computational biology, artificial chemistries, information, living technology, art, and philosophy. Being interdisciplinary, artificial life seems to be losing its boundaries and merging with other fields.

 

 


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What does it mean to be #influential in the age of #socialmedia?

What does it mean to be #influential in the age of #socialmedia? | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Much of the difficulty in understanding influence in social networks (especially those formed on social media sites) has to do with the inability to define influence, and then distinguish it from a number of other factors. For example, is it the actual content of a message being exchanged that exerts the most influence on users? In other words, can user-behavior within social media networks be explained in terms of users seeking useful information for some discrete and identifiable purpose? Or, conversely, is it the nature and/or context of the relationship between exchanging actors that exerts influence on user behaviors? That is, can user-behavior be explained in terms of users being influenced by celebrity or prestige, for example?

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Synchronicity among Biological and Computational Levels of an Organism: Quantum Biology and Complexity

This paper argues that there is a synchronicity among biological and computational levels on an organism and provides arguments and proofs based on experimental research gathered in the literature. The leading thread is the interplay between quantum biology (QB) and complexity. As the paper asks whether QB does contribute to complexity science (CS), five arguments are provided: (i) Firstly a state-of-the art of QB and its relationship to CS is sketched out. Thereafter, the attention is directed to answering the question set out; (ii) Secondly, it digs into the understanding of life toward deeper levels of reality; (iii) It is shown that non-trivial quantum effects shed insightful lights on the information processing of and within living beings; (iv) Once the distinction is made between increasing levels of complexity and increasing levels of organization, the focus lies in the importance of QB for organization, and not so much for complexity as such; (v) The role of information rises at the center of all concerns, and the intertwining of complexity and information processing. At the end some conclusions are drawn.

 

Synchronicity among Biological and Computational Levels of an Organism: Quantum Biology and Complexity
Carlos E. Maldonado, Nelson A. Gómez-Cruz

Procedia Computer Science
Volume 36, 2014, Pages 177–184
Complex Adaptive Systems Philadelphia, PA November 3-5, 2014

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2014.09.076


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The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same

In such different domains as statistical physics and spin glasses, neurosciences, social science, economics and finance, large ensemble of interacting individuals taking their decisions either in accordance (mainstream) or against (hipsters) the majority are ubiquitous. Yet, trying hard to be different often ends up in hipsters consistently taking the same decisions, in other words all looking alike. We resolve this apparent paradox studying a canonical model of statistical physics, enriched by incorporating the delays necessary for information to be communicated. We show a generic phase transition in the system: when hipsters are too slow in detecting the trends, they will keep making the same choices and therefore remain correlated as time goes by, while their trend evolves in time as a periodic function. This is true as long as the majority of the population is made of hipsters. Otherwise, hipsters will be, again, largely aligned, towards a constant direction which is imposed by the mainstream choices. Beyond the choice of the best suit to wear this winter, this study may have important implications in understanding dynamics of inhibitory networks of the brain or investment strategies finance, or the understanding of emergent dynamics in social science, domains in which delays of communication and the geometry of the systems are prominent.

 

The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same
Jonathan Touboul

http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.8001


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csss 2014 proceedings | Santa Fe Institute

csss 2014 proceedings | Santa Fe Institute | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Proceedings from the 2014 Complex Systems Summer School are now posted, complete with a network map of the students’ collaborations. The students welcome comments and feedback.

Included in the proceedings are an exemplary set of more than two dozen papers -- more than half of which are being considered for publication. 

Some of the topics: Can simple models reproduce complex transportation networks? What are the non-linear effects of pesticides on food dynamics? What role do fractals and scaling play in finance models?


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At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law

At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Systems of many interacting components — be they species, integers or subatomic particles — kept producing the same statistical curve, which had become known as the Tracy-Widom distribution. This puzzling curve seemed to be the complex cousin of the familiar bell curve, or Gaussian distribution, which represents the natural variation of independent random variables like the heights of students in a classroom or their test scores. Like the Gaussian, the Tracy-Widom distribution exhibits “universality,” a mysterious phenomenon in which diverse microscopic effects give rise to the same collective behavior. “The surprise is it’s as universal as it is,” said Tracy, a professor at the University of California, Davis.

 

http://www.quantamagazine.org/20141015-at-the-far-ends-of-a-new-universal-law/


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Gary Bamford's curator insight, October 29, 2014 4:16 AM

Possibly a lesson for the 'Big Data' analytics you intent to perform, when you have the time!

Damien Thouvenin's curator insight, October 29, 2014 10:15 AM

Un article intéressant : la courbe de fréquence d'apparition d'un état dans un réseau interconnectant de nombreux éléments (de nombreux systèmes complexes donc) ne suit pas la fameuse courbe de Gauss mais plutôt celle, asymétrique, de la distribution Tracy-Widom. Le modèle a été prouvé pour un certain nombre de cas mais on ne sait pas encore identifier les critères nécessaires et suffisants à son apparition mais cela semble corroborer les effets de seuil que l'on constate dans les réseaux massivement interconnectés.

 

António F Fonseca's curator insight, November 2, 2014 6:38 AM

A new powerful law. Curiosly very similar to the profile of the quantity of retweets on Twitter.

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The Age of Vulnerability

The Age of Vulnerability | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
While many countries succeeded in moving people out of poverty, the welfare of a growing number is precarious. An economic system that fails to deliver gains for most of its citizens, and in which a rising share of the population faces increasing insecurity, is, in a fundamental sense, a failed economic system.
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Jean Tirole Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

Jean Tirole Wins Nobel Prize in Economics | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
Mr. Tirole, 61, is an economist who has provided insight into how governments can best tame powerful firms, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
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Subway Maps for Cities without Subways...

Subway Maps for Cities without Subways... | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Metro Austin | Click to enlarge Ivan Specht is an 8th grader whose fascination with cities, public transit, and maps has led him to embark on a creative cartography project that belies his age...

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Entropy Methods in Guided Self-Organisation

Self-organisation occurs in natural phenomena when a spontaneous increase inorder is produced by the interactions of elements of a complex system. Thermodynamically,this increase must be offset by production of entropy which, broadly speaking, can beunderstood as a decrease in order. Ideally, self-organisation can be used to guide the systemtowards a desired regime or state, while “exporting” the entropy to the system’s exterior. Thus, Guided Self-Organisation (GSO) attempts to harness the order-inducing potentialof self-organisation for specific purposes. Not surprisingly, general methods developed tostudy entropy can also be applied to guided self-organisation. This special issue covers a broad diversity of GSO approaches which can be classified in three categories: informationtheory, intelligent agents, and collective behavior. The proposals make another step towardsa unifying theory of GSO which promises to impact numerous research fields.

 

Entropy Methods in Guided Self-Organisation
Mikhail Prokopenko and Carlos Gershenson

Entropy 2014, 16(10), 5232-5241; doi:10.3390/e16105232

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/10/5232

 

http://www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy/special_issues/self-organization ;


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In Noisy Equations, One Who Heard Music

In Noisy Equations, One Who Heard Music | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it
Martin Hairer was named a 2014 Fields medalist for an epic masterpiece in stochastic analysis that colleagues say “created a whole world.”
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Introduction to Computational Social Science, by Claudio Cioffi-Revilla

Introduction to Computational Social Science, by Claudio Cioffi-Revilla | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

The emerging field of computational social science (CSS) is devoted to the pursuit of interdisciplinary social science research from an information processing perspective, through the medium of advanced computing and information technologies.

This reader-friendly textbook/reference is the first work of its kind to provide a comprehensive and unified Introduction to Computational Social Science. Four distinct methodological approaches are examined in particular detail, namely automated social information extraction, social network analysis, social complexity theory, and social simulation modeling. The coverage of each of these approaches is supported by a discussion of the historical context and motivations, as well as by a list of recommended texts for further reading.

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Our economies are messed up. And the cause is the Internet.

Our economies are messed up. And the cause is the Internet. | Non-Equilibrium Social Science | Scoop.it

Imagine that someone told you that three of the biggest stories of the past few years — the financial crisis, exploding economic inequality, and the National Security Agency spy scandal — weren’t actually different stories at all. Different in detail, yes, but essentially identical in their deeper cause. The cause, they go on to say, wasn’t greed or fear or the age of terrorism or anything else linked to human fallibility, but technology — specifically, computation and its networked manifestation, the Internet. Sound crazy?

 

Mark Buchanan in The Physics of Finance

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