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Economics in the age of big data

The advent of big data is already allowing for better measurement of economic effects and outcomes and is enabling novel research designs across a range of topics. Over time, these data are likely to affect the types of questions economists pose, by allowing for more focus on population variation and the analysis of a broader range of economic activities and interactions. We also expect economists to increasingly adopt the large-data statistical methods that have been developed in neighboring fields and that often may complement traditional econometric techniques.
These data opportunities also raise some important challenges. Perhaps the primary one is developing methods for researchers to access and explore data in ways that respect privacy and confidentiality concerns. This is a major issue in working with both government administrative data and private sector firms. Other challenges include developing the appropriate data management and programming capabilities, as well as designing creative and scalable approaches to summarize, describe, and analyze large-scale and relatively unstructured data sets. These challenges notwithstanding, the next few decades are likely to be a very exciting time for economic research.

 

Economics in the age of big data

Liran Einav, Jonathan Levin

 

Science 7 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6210
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1243089


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The Simple Rules of Social Contagion

It is commonly believed that information spreads between individuals like a pathogen, with each exposure by an informed friend potentially resulting in a naive individual becoming infected. However, empirical studies of social media suggest that individual response to repeated exposure to information is far more complex. As a proxy for intervention experiments, we compare user responses to multiple exposures on two different social media sites, Twitter and Digg. We show that the position of exposing messages on the user-interface strongly affects social contagion. Accounting for this visibility significantly simplifies the dynamics of social contagion. The likelihood an individual will spread information increases monotonically with exposure, while explicit feedback about how many friends have previously spread it increases the likelihood of a response. We provide a framework for unifying information visibility, divided attention, and explicit social feedback to predict the temporal dynamics of user behavior.

 

The Simple Rules of Social Contagion
Nathan O. Hodas & Kristina Lerman

Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 4343 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep04343


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The magic of Fibonacci numbers

Math is logical, functional and just ... awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!

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▶ Seven Complex Lessons in Education - Edgar Morin

Dr. Edgar Morin, an eminent sociologist and philosopher, discusses his work on Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future, addressing themes related to knowledge, identity and shared global challenges.


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Corina Ciechanow's curator insight, February 14, 2014 4:45 AM

'Il faut enseigner à la bienveillance' Teaching people how to show kindness, see all aspects of others to understand them. Great interview!

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▶ Francis Heylighen: Return to Eden? (...) on the Road to an Omnipotent Global Intelligence

The concept of Singularity envisages a technology-driven explosion in intelligence. I argue that the resulting suprahuman intelligence will not be centralized in a single AI system, but distributed across all people and artifacts, as connected via the Internet. This global brain will function to tackle all challenges confronting the "global superorganism". Its capabilities will extend so far beyond our present abilities that they may be best conveyed as a pragmatic version of the "divine" attributes: omniscience (knowing everything needed to solve our problems), omnipresence (being available anywhere anytime), omnipotence (being able to provide any product or service at negligible cost) and omnibenevolence (aiming at the greatest happiness for the greatest number). By extrapolating present trends, technologies and evolutionary mechanisms, I argue that these abilities are likely to be realized within the next few decades. The resulting solution to all our individual and societal problems can be seen as a return to "Eden", the idyllic state of abundance and peace that supposedly existed before civilization. In this utopian society, individuals would be supported and challenged by the global brain to maximally develop their abilities, and to continuously create new knowledge. However, side effects of technological innovation are likely to create serious disturbances on the road to this utopia. The most important dangers are cascading failures facilitated by hyperconnectivity, the spread of psychological parasites that make people lose touch with reality, the loss of human abilities caused by an unnatural, passive lifestyle, and a conservative backlash triggered by too rapid changes. Because of the non-linearity of the system, the precise impact of such disturbances cannot be predicted. However, a range of precautionary measures, including a "global immune system", may pre-empt the greatest risks.

 

Return to Eden?
Promises and Perils on the Road to an Omnipotent Global Intelligence
Prof. Dr. Francis Heylighen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWJA_i-cY30


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Complexity Theory Basic Concepts

A summary of key complexity theory concepts. (Complexity theory background http://t.co/lsYiQGJZv1)

Via Christophe Bredillet, Philippe Vallat, Bernard Ryefield
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The Heart as a Complex Adaptive System

The Heart as a Complex Adaptive System | Technology, Trees, Music and Ethiopia | Scoop.it

There is mounting evidence that the heart is a system onto itself and that it is intimately intertwined with the nervous and endocrine system residing within its borders. The capacity of self-organized systems to adapt is embodied in the functional organization of the intrinsic control mechanisms. How these regulatory subsystems communicate and how uncoupling of the hierarchical organization results in loss of adaptive "fitness"remains a challenge in human biology. The principles by which "emergent properties" and functional order of a self-organizingsystem, such as the heart, achieve (homeo)dynamic stability provide a non-reductionist framework for understanding how biological system adapts to imposed internal and external stresses, e.g., ischemia, organ/tissue transplantation. In particular, the newly emergent dynamics of cardiac rhythm observed after the heart is transplanted may reflect a more stable,versatile and adaptive (as per "law of requisite variety") bipartite whole. The integrative action of the living organism can not be gotten from their concatenated fractions but is evolved "relationally", i.e., it emanates from emergent internal requirements of the constitutive parts.

J. Yasha Kresh, Igor Izrailtyan, Andrew S. Wechsler 
Depts. of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Medicine 
MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine / Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA


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june holley's curator insight, January 7, 2014 8:09 AM

The heart can help us understand self-organization.

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Complexity Studies in Economics, a new course on the éToile Platform

Complexity Studies in Economics, a new course on the éToile Platform | Technology, Trees, Music and Ethiopia | Scoop.it

This course is anchored on the seven main sections associated with the key Economics areas where the complex systems studies approach to economy has been known to have important influence. These sections are: Section I: A Philosophical and Methodological approach to Economy using Complexity Sciences; Section II: The structure of interaction; Section III: Macroeconomics and Growth; Section IV: Financial Markets; Section V: International and Monetary Economy Dynamics; Section VI: Regional Economic Systems; Section VII: Evolutionary Economic Dynamics. Other than discussing the literature, the students will be invited to model, implement and discuss some of the underlying mentioned models using social simulation programming libraries.


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orgcomplexity.com

orgcomplexity.com | Technology, Trees, Music and Ethiopia | Scoop.it
This blog is home to those not put aback by the complexity inherent to healthcare. This is a site for the complexity as well as system science relishers.

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Luciano Lampi's curator insight, June 4, 2013 9:18 AM

this is a complex topic!

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▶ Pierre Collet: Personalised Open Education for the Masses (POEM)

10th ECCO / GBI seminar series. Spring 2014

Personalised Open Education for the Masses (POEM).

April 11, 2014, Brussels

Pierre Collet, Strasbourg University

 

Slides: http://ecco.vub.ac.be/sites/all/files/POEMs%20VUB14.pdf 

Abstract, references and more: http://ecco.vub.ac.be/?q=node/226 


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The Simple Rules of Social Contagion

It is commonly believed that information spreads between individuals like a pathogen, with each exposure by an informed friend potentially resulting in a naive individual becoming infected. However, empirical studies of social media suggest that individual response to repeated exposure to information is far more complex. As a proxy for intervention experiments, we compare user responses to multiple exposures on two different social media sites, Twitter and Digg. We show that the position of exposing messages on the user-interface strongly affects social contagion. Accounting for this visibility significantly simplifies the dynamics of social contagion. The likelihood an individual will spread information increases monotonically with exposure, while explicit feedback about how many friends have previously spread it increases the likelihood of a response. We provide a framework for unifying information visibility, divided attention, and explicit social feedback to predict the temporal dynamics of user behavior.

 

The Simple Rules of Social Contagion
Nathan O. Hodas & Kristina Lerman

Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 4343 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep04343


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Big Brains. Small Films. Benoît Mandelbrot, The Father of Fractals | IBM

IBM and http://IBMblr.Tumblr.com celebrate the life of Benoit B. Mandelbrot, IBM Fellow Emeritus and Fractal Pioneer. In this final interview shot by filmmaker Erol Morris, Mandelbrot shares his love for mathematics and how it led him to his wondrous discovery of fractals. His work lives on today in many innovations in science, design, telecommunications, medicine, renewable energy, film (special effects), gaming (computer graphics) and more.


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Introduction to Complex Systems: Patterns in Nature

This video provides a basic introduction to the science of complex systems, focusing on patterns in nature. (For more information on agent-based modeling, visit http://imaginationtoolbox.org ).


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António F Fonseca's curator insight, February 1, 2014 4:50 AM

Agent based modeling still is the best tool to understand complex systems when mathematical modeling gets very complicated.

Liz Rykert's curator insight, February 10, 2014 7:25 PM

Always looking for good resources to introduce complexity science to others. This looks great. 

Ian Biggs, FAIPM, CPPE's curator insight, April 16, 2014 8:08 PM

I recently conducted a series of workshops on the subject of 'Complex Project Management - Navigating through the unknown'. This clip provides a great introduction to complex systems and for those interested in Complexity Science, this clip is worth 7:52 of your time.

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Would you like sustainable development, reduced dependency and even greater success? - Shirlaws Business Performance Blog - Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs Shirlaws UK

Would you like sustainable development, reduced dependency and even greater success? - Shirlaws Business Performance Blog - Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs Shirlaws UK | Technology, Trees, Music and Ethiopia | Scoop.it
By Fergus King , Shirlaws Business Coach

A business owner asked me yesterday: “Why sho... (Would you like sustainable development, reduced dependency and even greater success?
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The Termite and the Architect - Issue 8: Home - Nautilus

The Termite and the Architect - Issue 8: Home - Nautilus | Technology, Trees, Music and Ethiopia | Scoop.it

In 1991, the multinational Old Mutual investment group approached the Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce with an audacious assignment. The group wished to construct a retail and office complex called the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare that, at 55,000 square meters, would be the country’s largest commercial building. What Old Mutual didn’t wish to do was pay the high cost of air-conditioning such a massive space. Could Pearce, working with the Arup construction firm, devise a design that relied solely on passive, natural climate control?


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▶ Big Brains. Small Films. Benoît Mandelbrot, The Father of Fractals | IBM - YouTube

IBM and http://IBMblr.Tumblr.com celebrate the life of Benoit B. Mandelbrot, IBM Fellow Emeritus and Fractal Pioneer. In this final interview shot by filmmak...

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Special Issue: Entropy Methods in Guided Self-Organization

Special Issue: Entropy Methods in Guided Self-Organization | Technology, Trees, Music and Ethiopia | Scoop.it

The goal of Guided Self-Organization (GSO) is to leverage the strengths of self-organization while still being able to direct the outcome of the self-organizing process. GSO typically has the following features: (i) an increase in organization (structure and/or functionality) over some time; (ii) the local interactions are not explicitly guided by any external agent; (iii) task-independent objectives are combined with task-dependent constraints.

A number of attempts have been made to formalize aspects of GSO within information theory, thermodynamics and dynamical systems. However, the lack of a broadly applicable mathematical framework across multiple scales and contexts leaves GSO methodology incomplete. Devising such a framework and identifying common principles of guidance are the main themes of the GSO workshops.

Of particular interest are well-founded, but general methods for characterizing GSO systems in a principled way, with the view of ultimately allowing them to be guided toward pre-specified goals. In general, various entropy methods drawing from, and overlapping with, information theory, thermodynamics, nonlinear dynamics and graph theory are relevant, while quantifying complexity and its sources is a common theme.

 

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2014

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

See also http://prokopenko.net/cfp13.html ;


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