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Introducing the Computable Universe

Some contemporary views of the universe assume information and computation to be key in understanding and explaining the basic structure underpinning physical reality. We introduce the Computable Universe exploring some of the basic arguments giving foundation to these visions. We will focus on the algorithmic and quantum aspects, and how these may fit and support the computable universe hypothesis.

 

Introducing the Computable Universe

Hector Zenil

http://arxiv.org/abs/1206.0376

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An Evolutionary Game Theoretic Approach to Multi-Sector Coordination and Self-Organization

Coordination games provide ubiquitous interaction paradigms to frame human behavioral features, such as information transmission, conventions and languages as well as socio-economic processes and institutions. By using a dynamical approach, such as Evolutionary Game Theory (EGT), one is able to follow, in detail, the self-organization process by which a population of individuals coordinates into a given behavior. Real socio-economic scenarios, however, often involve the interaction between multiple co-evolving sectors, with specific options of their own, that call for generalized and more sophisticated mathematical frameworks. In this paper, we explore a general EGT approach to deal with coordination dynamics in which individuals from multiple sectors interact. Starting from a two-sector, consumer/producer scenario, we investigate the effects of including a third co-evolving sector that we call public. We explore the changes in the self-organization process of all sectors, given the feedback that this new sector imparts on the other two.

 

An Evolutionary Game Theoretic Approach to Multi-Sector Coordination and Self-Organization
Fernando P. Santos, Sara Encarnação, Francisco C. Santos, Juval Portugali and Jorge M. Pacheco

Entropy 2016, 18(4), 152; http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/e18040152

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Compression and the origins of Zipf's law for word frequencies

Here we sketch a new derivation of Zipf's law for word frequencies based on optimal coding. The structure of the derivation is reminiscent of Mandelbrot's random typing model but it has multiple advantages over random typing: (1) it departs from realistic cognitive pressures (2) it does not require fine tuning of parameters and (3) it sheds light on the origins of other statistical laws of language and thus can lead to a compact theory of linguistic laws. Our findings suggest that the recurrence of Zipf's law in human languages could originate from pressure for easy and fast communication.

 

Compression and the origins of Zipf's law for word frequencies
Ramon Ferrer-i-Cancho

http://arxiv.org/abs/1605.01326

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Decongestion of urban areas with hotspot-pricing

The rapid growth of population in urban areas is jeopardizing the mobility and air quality worldwide. One of the most notable problems arising is that of traffic congestion which in turn affects air pollution. With the advent of technologies able to sense real-time data about cities, and its public distribution for analysis, we are in place to forecast scenarios valuable to ameliorate and control congestion. Here, we propose a local congestion pricing scheme, hotspot-pricing, that surcharges vehicles traversing congested junctions. The proposed tax is computed from the estimation of the evolution of congestion at local level, and the expected response of users to the tax (elasticity). Results on cities' road networks, considering real-traffic data, show that the proposed hotspot-pricing scheme would be more effective than current mechanisms to decongest urban areas, and paves the way towards sustainable congestion in urban areas.

 

Decongestion of urban areas with hotspot-pricing
Albert Solé-Ribalta, Sergio Gómez, Alex Arenas

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.07729

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A "Social Bitcoin" could sustain a democratic digital world

A multidimensional financial system could provide benefits for individuals, companies, and states. Instead of top-down control, which is destined to eventually fail in a hyperconnected world, a bottom-up creation of value can unleash creative potential and drive innovations. Multiple currency dimensions can represent different externalities and thus enable the design of incentives and feedback mechanisms that foster the ability of complex dynamical systems to self-organize and lead to a more resilient society and sustainable economy. Modern information and communication technologies play a crucial role in this process, as Web 2.0 and online social networks promote cooperation and collaboration on unprecedented scales. Within this contribution, we discuss how one dimension of a multidimensional currency system could represent socio-digital capital (Social Bitcoins) that can be generated in a bottom-up way by individuals who perform search and navigation tasks in a future version of the digital world. The incentive to mine Social Bitcoins could sustain digital diversity, which mitigates the risk of totalitarian control by powerful monopolies of information and can create new business opportunities needed in times where a large fraction of current jobs is estimated to disappear due to computerisation.

 

A "Social Bitcoin" could sustain a democratic digital world
Kaj-Kolja Kleineberg, Dirk Helbing

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.08168

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Explaining the Prevalence, Scaling and Variance of Urban Phenomena

The prevalence of many urban phenomena changes systematically with population size. We propose a theory that unifies models of economic complexity and cultural evolution to derive urban scaling. The theory accounts for the difference in scaling exponents and average prevalence across phenomena, as well as the difference in the variance within phenomena across cities of similar size. The central ideas are that a number of necessary complementary factors must be simultaneously present for a phenomenon to occur, and that the diversity of factors is logarithmically related to population size. The model reveals that phenomena that require more factors will be less prevalent, scale more superlinearly and show larger variance across cities of similar size. The theory applies to data on education, employment, innovation, disease and crime, and it entails the ability to predict the prevalence of a phenomenon across cities, given information about the prevalence in a single city.

 

Explaining the Prevalence, Scaling and Variance of Urban Phenomena
Andres Gomez-Lievano, Oscar Patterson-Lomba, Ricardo Hausmann

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.07876

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The Free Energy Requirements of Biological Organisms; Implications for Evolution

Recent advances in nonequilibrium statistical physics have provided unprecedented insight into the thermodynamics of dynamic processes. The author recently used these advances to extend Landauer’s semi-formal reasoning concerning the thermodynamics of bit erasure, to derive the minimal free energy required to implement an arbitrary computation. Here, I extend this analysis, deriving the minimal free energy required by an organism to run a given (stochastic) map π from its sensor inputs to its actuator outputs. I use this result to calculate the input-output map π of an organism that optimally trades off the free energy needed to run π with the phenotypic fitness that results from implementing π. I end with a general discussion of the limits imposed on the rate of the terrestrial biosphere’s information processing by the flux of sunlight on the Earth.

 

The Free Energy Requirements of Biological Organisms; Implications for Evolution
by David H. Wolpert
Entropy 2016, 18(4), 138; http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/e18040138

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Broken detailed balance at mesoscopic scales in active biological systems

Systems in thermodynamic equilibrium are not only characterized by time-independent macroscopic properties, but also satisfy the principle of detailed balance in the transitions between microscopic configurations. Living systems function out of equilibrium and are characterized by directed fluxes through chemical states, which violate detailed balance at the molecular scale. Here we introduce a method to probe for broken detailed balance and demonstrate how such nonequilibrium dynamics are manifest at the mesosopic scale. The periodic beating of an isolated flagellum from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii exhibits probability flux in the phase space of shapes. With a model, we show how the breaking of detailed balance can also be quantified in stationary, nonequilibrium stochastic systems in the absence of periodic motion. We further demonstrate such broken detailed balance in the nonperiodic fluctuations of primary cilia of epithelial cells. Our analysis provides a general tool to identify nonequilibrium dynamics in cells and tissues.

 

Broken detailed balance at mesoscopic scales in active biological systems
BY CHRISTOPHER BATTLE, CHASE P. BROEDERSZ, NIKTA FAKHRI, VEIKKO F. GEYER, JONATHON HOWARD, CHRISTOPH F. SCHMIDT, FRED C. MACKINTOSH

Science  29 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6285, pp. 604-607
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aac8167

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Competition between global and local online social networks

The overwhelming success of online social networks, the key actors in the Web 2.0 cosmos, has reshaped human interactions globally. To help understand the fundamental mechanisms which determine the fate of online social networks at the system level, we describe the digital world as a complex ecosystem of interacting networks. In this paper, we study the impact of heterogeneity in network fitnesses on the competition between an international network, such as Facebook, and local services. The higher fitness of international networks is induced by their ability to attract users from all over the world, which can then establish social interactions without the limitations of local networks. In other words, inter-country social ties lead to increased fitness of the international network. To study the competition between an international network and local ones, we construct a 1:1000 scale model of the digital world, consisting of the 80 countries with the most Internet users. Under certain conditions, this leads to the extinction of local networks; whereas under different conditions, local networks can persist and even dominate completely. In particular, our model suggests that, with the parameters that best reproduce the empirical overtake of Facebook, this overtake could have not taken place with a significant probabilit

 

Competition between global and local online social networks
Kaj-Kolja Kleineberg & Marián Boguñá

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 25116 (2016)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep25116

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Efficient network structures with separable heterogeneous connection costs

  • We provide the analytical solution for the efficient network with heterogeneous, separable connection costs.
  • The efficient network has a diameter no bigger than two and exhibits a core–periphery structure.
  • We calculate the lower bound for clustering coefficient of the efficient network.

 

Efficient network structures with separable heterogeneous connection costs
Babak Heydari, Mohsen Mosleh, Kia Dalili

Economics Letters
Volume 134, September 2015, Pages 82–85

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2015.06.014

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Spatial Patterns in Urban Systems

Understanding the morphology of an urban system is an important step toward unveiling the dynamical processes of its growth and development. At the foundation of every urban system, transportation system is undeniably a crucial component in powering the life of the entire urban system. In this work, we study the spatial pattern of 73 cities across the globe by analysing the distribution of public transport points within the cities. The analysis reveals that different spatial distributions of points could be classified into four groups with distinct features, indicating whether the points are clustered, dispersed or regularly distributed. From visual inspection, we observe that the cities with regularly distributed patterns do not have apparent centre in contrast to the other two types in which star-node structure, i.e. monocentric, can be clearly observed. Furthermore, the results provide evidence for the existence of two different types of urban system: well-planned and organically grown. We also study the spatial distribution of another important urban entity, the amenities, and find that it possesses universal properties regardless of the city's spatial pattern type. This result has one important implication that at small scale of locality, the urban dynamics cannot be controlled even though the regulation can be done at large scale of the entire urban system. The relation between the distribution of amenities within the city and its spatial pattern is also discussed.

 

Spatial Patterns in Urban Systems
Hoai Nguyen Huynh, Evgeny Makarov, Erika Fille Legara, Christopher Monterola, Lock Yue Chew

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.07119

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Estimating biologically relevant parameters under uncertainty for experimental within-host murine West Nile virus infection

West Nile virus (WNV) causes viral encephalitis in humans, and is related to viruses such as Dengue and Zika that are also of significant public health concern. We have developed a computational method to determine characteristics of WNV infection even in the face of limited experimental data. This could be applicable to other emerging diseases like Zika virus for which there is little data. It may be particularly useful to estimate the potential rate of within-host viral reproduction early in an outbreak in order to assess the epidemic potential of emerging pathogens.

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Why Physics Is Not a Discipline 

Why Physics Is Not a Discipline  | Papers | Scoop.it

Saying that physics knows no boundaries is not the same as saying that physicists can solve everything. They too have been brought up inside a discipline, and are as prone as any of us to blunder when they step outside. The issue is not who “owns” particular problems in science, but about developing useful tools for thinking about how things work—which is what Aristotle tried to do over two millennia ago. Physics is not what happens in the Department of Physics. The world really doesn’t care about labels, and if we want to understand it then neither should we.

 

http://nautil.us/issue/35/boundaries/why-physics-is-not-a-discipline

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Marcelo Errera's curator insight, April 24, 11:09 AM
Indeed.  We just have to look back at history and make sure we are not blocking today's progress due to misconceptions of who should or should not produce understanding of Nature.  Let the scientific method decide.
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Microbiome: Eating for trillions

Microbiome: Eating for trillions | Papers | Scoop.it

Three studies investigate the bacteria in the guts of malnourished children and find that, when this microbiota is transferred into mice, supplements of certain microbes or sugars from human breast milk can restore normal growth.

 

Microbiome: Eating for trillions
Derrick M. Chu & Kjersti M. Aagaard

Nature 532, 316–317 (21 April 2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature17887

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Crowdsourcing the Robin Hood effect in cities

Socioeconomic inequalities in cities are embedded in space and result in neighborhood effects, whose harmful consequences have proved very hard to counterbalance efficiently by planning policies alone. Considering redistribution of money flows as a first step toward improved spatial equity, we study a bottom-up approach that would rely on a slight evolution of shopping mobility practices. Building on a database of anonymized credit card transactions in Madrid and Barcelona, we quantify the mobility effort required to reach a reference situation where commercial income is evenly shared among neighborhoods. The redirections of shopping trips preserve key properties of human mobility, including travel distances. Surprisingly, for both cities only a small fraction (∼5%) of trips need to be altered to reach equity situations, improving even other sustainability indicators. The method could be implemented in mobile applications that would assist individuals in reshaping their shopping practices, to promote the spatial redistribution of opportunities in the city.

 

Crowdsourcing the Robin Hood effect in cities
Thomas Louail, Maxime Lenormand, Juan Murillo Arias, José J. Ramasco

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.08394

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Habituation in non-neural organisms: evidence from slime moulds

Learning, defined as a change in behaviour evoked by experience, has hitherto been investigated almost exclusively in multicellular neural organisms. Evidence for learning in non-neural multicellular organisms is scant, and only a few unequivocal reports of learning have been described in single-celled organisms. Here we demonstrate habituation, an unmistakable form of learning, in the non-neural organism Physarum polycephalum. In our experiment, using chemotaxis as the behavioural output and quinine or caffeine as the stimulus, we showed that P. polycephalum learnt to ignore quinine or caffeine when the stimuli were repeated, but responded again when the stimulus was withheld for a certain time. Our results meet the principle criteria that have been used to demonstrate habituation: responsiveness decline and spontaneous recovery. To distinguish habituation from sensory adaptation or motor fatigue, we also show stimulus specificity. Our results point to the diversity of organisms lacking neurons, which likely display a hitherto unrecognized capacity for learning, and suggest that slime moulds may be an ideal model system in which to investigate fundamental mechanisms underlying learning processes. Besides, documenting learning in non-neural organisms such as slime moulds is centrally important to a comprehensive, phylogenetic understanding of when and where in the tree of life the earliest manifestations of learning evolved.

 

Habituation in non-neural organisms: evidence from slime moulds
Romain P. Boisseau, David Vogel, Audrey Dussutour

Proc. Roy. Soc. B
April 2016
Volume: 283 Issue: 1829

http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.0446

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Past the power law: Complex systems and the limiting law of restricted diversity

Probability distributions have proven effective at modeling diversity in complex systems. The two most common are the Gaussian normal and skewed-right. While the mechanics of the former are well-known; the latter less so, given the significant limitations of the power-law. Moving past the power-law, we demonstrate that there exists, hidden-in-full-view, a limiting law governing the diversity of complexity in skewed-right systems; which can be measured using a case-based version of Shannon entropy, resulting in a 60/40 rule. For our study, given the wide range of approaches to measuring complexity (i.e., descriptive, constructive, etc), we examined eight different systems, which varied significantly in scale and composition (from galaxies to genes). We found that skewed-right complex systems obey the law of restricted diversity; that is, when plotted for a variety of natural and human-made systems, as the diversity of complexity (primarily in terms of the number of types; but also, secondarily, in terms of the frequency of cases) a limiting law of restricted diversity emerges, constraining the majority of cases to simpler types. Even more compelling, this limiting law obeys a scale-free 60/40 rule: when measured using , 60%(or more) of the cases in these systems reside within the first 40% (or less) of the lower bound of equiprobable diversity types—with or without long-tail and whether or not the distribution fits a power-law. Furthermore, as an extension of the Pareto Principle, this lower bound accounts for only a small percentage of the total diversity; that is, while the top 20% of cases constitute a sizable percentage of the total diversity in a system, the bottom 60% are highly constrained. In short, as the central limit theorem governs the diversity of complexity in normal distributions, restricted diversity seems to govern the diversity of complexity in skewed-right distributions.

 

Past the power law: Complex systems and the limiting law of restricted diversity
Brian Castellani and Rajeev Rajaram

Complexity

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cplx.21786

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Dynamics of beneficial epidemics

Pathogens can spread epidemically through populations. Beneficial contagions, such as viruses that enhance host survival or technological innovations that improve quality of life, also have the potential to spread epidemically. How do the dynamics of beneficial biological and social epidemics differ from those of detrimental epidemics? We investigate this question using three theoretical approaches as well as an empirical analysis of concept propagation. First, in evolutionary models, we show that a beneficial horizontally-transmissible element, such as viral DNA, spreads super-exponentially through a population, substantially more quickly than a beneficial mutation. Second, in an epidemiological social network approach, we show that infections that cause increased connectivity lead to faster-than-exponential fixation in the population. Third, in a sociological model with strategic rewiring, we find that preferences for increased global infection accelerate spread and produce super-exponential fixation rates, while preferences for local assortativity halt epidemics by disconnecting the infected from the susceptible. Finally, in an investigation of the Google Ngram corpus, we find that new words and phrases spread super-exponentially, as anticipated by our models. We conclude that the dynamics of beneficial biological and social epidemics are characterized by the remarkably rapid spread of beneficial elements, which can be facilitated in biological systems by horizontal transmission and in social systems by active spreading strategies of infected individuals.

 

Andrew Berdahl, Christa Brelsford, Caterina De Bacco, Marion Dumas, Vanessa Ferdinand, Joshua A. Grochow, Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Yoav Kallus, Christopher P. Kempes, Artemy Kolchinsky, Daniel B. Larremore, Eric Libby, Eleanor A. Power, Caitlin A. Stern, Brendan Tracey (Santa Fe Institute Postdocs)

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.02096

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From big data to important information

Advances in science are being sought in newly available opportunities to collect massive quantities of data about complex systems. While key advances are being made in detailed mapping of systems, how to relate these data to solving many of the challenges facing humanity is unclear. The questions we often wish to address require identifying the impact of interventions on the system and that impact is not apparent in the detailed data that is available. Here, we review key concepts and motivate a general framework for building larger scale views of complex systems and for characterizing the importance of information in physical, biological, and social systems. We provide examples of its application to evolutionary biology with relevance to ecology, biodiversity, pandemics, and human lifespan, and in the context of social systems with relevance to ethnic violence, global food prices, and stock market panic. Framing scientific inquiry as an effort to determine what is important and unimportant is a means for advancing our understanding and addressing many practical concerns, such as economic development or treating disease.

 

From big data to important information
Yaneer Bar-Yam

Complexity

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cplx.21785

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Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone

In increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, the controversial website that hosts 50 million pirated papers and counting. Now, with server log data from Alexandra Elbakyan, the neuroscientist who created Sci-Hub in 2011 as a 22-year-old graduate student in Kazakhstan, Science addresses some basic questions: Who are Sci-Hub's users, where are they, and what are they reading? The Sci-Hub data provide the first detailed view of what is becoming the world's de facto open-access research library. Among the revelations that may surprise both fans and foes alike: Sci-Hub users are not limited to the developing world. Some critics of Sci-Hub have complained that many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead—for convenience rather than necessity. The data provide some support for that claim. Over the 6 months leading up to March, Sci-Hub served up 28 million documents, with Iran, China, India, Russia, and the United States the leading requestors.

 

Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone
John Bohannon
Science  29 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6285, pp. 508-512
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.352.6285.508

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Bond Percolation on Multiplex Networks

Modern society is permeated by systems with many numbers of nodes and connections (e.g., rail networks, airports). A theoretical study of the multiplex network consisting of European Union air routes and the London rail transportation system demonstrates the fragility of such a network.

 

Bond Percolation on Multiplex Networks
A. Hackett, D. Cellai, S. Gómez, A. Arenas, and J. P. Gleeson
Phys. Rev. X 6, 021002 (2016)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.6.021002

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Prediction of Cascading Failures in Spatial Networks

Prediction of Cascading Failures in Spatial Networks | Papers | Scoop.it
Cascading overload failures are widely found in large-scale parallel systems and remain a major threat to system reliability; therefore, they are of great concern to maintainers and managers of different systems. Accurate cascading failure prediction can provide useful information to help control networks. However, for a large, gradually growing network with increasing complexity, it is often impractical to explore the behavior of a single node from the perspective of failure propagation. Fortunately, overload failures that propagate through a network exhibit certain spatial-temporal correlations, which allows the study of a group of nodes that share common spatial and temporal characteristics. Therefore, in this study, we seek to predict the failure rates of nodes in a given group using machine-learning methods.

We simulated overload failure propagations in a weighted lattice network that start with a center attack and predicted the failure percentages of different groups of nodes that are separated by a given distance. The experimental results of a feedforward neural network (FNN), a recurrent neural network (RNN) and support vector regression (SVR) all show that these different models can accurately predict the similar behavior of nodes in a given group during cascading overload propagation.

Via Ashish Umre
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Merging evolutionary history into species interaction networks

The occurrence of complex networks of interactions among species not only relies on species co-occurrence, but also on inherited traits and evolutionary events imprinted in species phylogenies. The phylogenetic signal found in ecological networks suggests that evolution plays an important role in determining community assembly and hence could inform about the underpinning mechanisms.

Via Samir
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A model to identify urban traffic congestion hotspots in complex networks

Traffic congestion is one of the most notable problems arising in worldwide urban areas, importantly compromising human mobility and air quality. Current technologies to sense real-time data about cities, and its open distribution for analysis, allow the advent of new approaches for improvement and control. Here, we propose an idealized model, the Microscopic Congestion Model, based on the critical phenomena arising in complex networks, that allows to analytically predict congestion hotspots in urban environments. Results on real cities' road networks, considering, in some experiments, real-traffic data, show that the proposed model is capable of identifying susceptible junctions that might become hotspots if mobility demand increases.

 

A model to identify urban traffic congestion hotspots in complex networks
Albert Solé-Ribalta, Sergio Gómez, Alex Arenas

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.07728

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Why we need democracy 2.0 and capitalism 2.0 to survive

The world is running into great trouble. 

The anthropocene challenges (including climate change, impending resource shortages, demographic change, conflict, financial and economic crises) call for entirely new answers. 

As a result, we are now seeing the emergence of data-driven societies around the globe. Feudalism 2.0, fascism 2.0, communism 2.0, socialism 2.0, democracy 2.0 and capitalism 2.0 can now be built. 

What framework should we choose? What would be the implications?

 

http://futurict.blogspot.ch/2016/04/why-we-need-democracy-20-and-capitalism.html

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An Experimental Study of Team Size and Performance on a Complex Task

The relationship between team size and productivity is a question of broad relevance across economics, psychology, and management science. For complex tasks, however, where both the potential benefits and costs of coordinated work increase with the number of workers, neither theoretical arguments nor empirical evidence consistently favor larger vs. smaller teams. Experimental findings, meanwhile, have relied on small groups and highly stylized tasks, hence are hard to generalize to realistic settings. Here we narrow the gap between real-world task complexity and experimental control, reporting results from an online experiment in which 47 teams of size ranging from n = 1 to 32 collaborated on a realistic crisis mapping task. We find that individuals in teams exerted lower overall effort than independent workers, in part by allocating their effort to less demanding (and less productive) sub-tasks; however, we also find that individuals in teams collaborated more with increasing team size. Directly comparing these competing effects, we find that the largest teams outperformed an equivalent number of independent workers, suggesting that gains to collaboration dominated losses to effort. Importantly, these teams also performed comparably to a field deployment of crisis mappers, suggesting that experiments of the type described here can help solve practical problems as well as advancing the science of collective intelligence.

 

Mao A, Mason W, Suri S, Watts DJ (2016) An Experimental Study of Team Size and Performance on a Complex Task. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0153048. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153048

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