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How does Social Science benefit from Complexity Theory and Computational Methods? We explore complex systems inhabited by human beings. These systems are biological, social, cultural, technological and creative. Our method is to analyze the behavior of the inhabitants of these systems and their interactions. Many interactions are indirect with multiple causes and effects.
The People Formerly Known as the Audience: "You don't own the eyeballs. You don't own the press, which is now divided into pro and amateur zones. You don't control production on the new platform, which isn't one-way. There's a new balance of power between you and us." More...
I just returned from an extraordinary meeting of 900 academics, civil society leaders, business people and other innovative thinkers, held by the World Economic Forum in Dubai. Called the Global Agenda Summit, 80 Councils composed of a dozen members each, discussed how to redesign our systems for global cooperation for the 21st century. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the Forum, was unable to attend due to a last minute illness, but in an interview shared his thoughts.
Humans have brains roughly three times larger than those of their nearest primate relatives, the great apes ( 1 , 2 ), and of course have many cognitive skills not possessed by other primates as well, from language to symbolic mathematics to scientific reasoning. The questions from an evolutionary point of view—especially given the enormous energetic expense of a large brain ( 3 )—are how and why humans have evolved such powerful and distinctive cognitive abilities requiring so much neural tissue. One hypothesis is the general intelligence hypothesis. Larger brains enable humans to perform all kinds of cognitive operations more efficiently than other species: greater memory, faster learning, faster perceptual processing, more robust inferences, longer-range planning, and so on. The alternative is the adapted intelligence hypothesis ( 4 ).
Social software brings groups together to discover and create value. The problem is, users only have so much time for social software. The vast majority of users with not have a high level of engagement with a given group, and most tend to be free riders upon community value. But patterns have emerged where low threshold participation amounts to collective intelligence and high engagement provides a different form of collaborative intelligence. To illustrate this, lets explore the Power Law of Participation: