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VII. Our Earthuman Moment: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality

2. Complex Local to Global Network Biosocieties

Deville, Pierre, et al. Scaling Identity Connects Human Mobility and Social Interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113/7047, 2016. International systems scientists including Chaoming Song and Albert-Laszlo Barabasi proceed to quantify the presence of intrinsic mathematical topologies that underlie, unbeknownst, the seemingly incoherent surface daily activities.

Massive datasets that capture human movements and social interactions have catalyzed rapid advances in our quantitative understanding of human behavior during the past years. One important aspect affecting both areas is the critical role space plays. Indeed, growing evidence suggests both our movements and communication patterns are associated with spatial costs that follow reproducible scaling laws, each characterized by its specific critical exponents. Although human mobility and social networks develop concomitantly as two prolific yet largely separated fields, we lack any known relationships between the critical exponents explored by them, despite the fact that they often study the same datasets. Here, by exploiting three different mobile phone datasets that capture simultaneously these two aspects, we discovered a new scaling relationship, mediated by a universal flux distribution, which links the critical exponents characterizing the spatial dependencies in human mobility and social networks. Therefore, the widely studied scaling laws uncovered in these two areas are not independent but connected through a deeper underlying reality. (Abstract)

Drozdz, Stanislaw, et al. Complexity in Economic and Social Systems. Entropy. April, 2020. Polish Academy of Sciences theorists SD, Jaroslaw Kwapien, and Pawel Oswiecimka open a special issue for papers all about how some manner of common mathematical programs become manifestly apparent in a wide expanse of human activities.

Social phenomena like the emergence of communication and cooperation, build-up of hierarchies and organizations, opinion formation, the emergence of political systems, and the structure and dynamics of financial markets are all among the iconic examples of the
real-world complexity. Although much has already been done and much has been achieved, the complexity of the social and economic systems is still far from being properly understood. We intend this Special Issue to cover a broad variety of complexity-related topics and methods in the following fields: macroeconomics, financial markets, epidemiology, opinion formation, social systems, quantitative linguistics, and time series analysis. We especially encourage to submit manuscripts that report studies carried out with models of heterogeneous interacting agents, complex networks, multifractal analysis, non-extensive statistical mechanics, and non-extensive entropy. (Summary excerpt)

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Irenaus and Frank Salter, eds. Indoctrinability, Ideology and Warfare. New York: Berghahn Books, 1998. In search of evolutionary reasons for the human propensity to form a distinct social identity in contrast to other ethnic, religious, racial, or national “out groups,” which must be fought against. The working assumption is that innate, advantageous group selection processes are constantly stressed and imperiled by male combativeness.

Epstein, Jacob. Generative Social Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. A Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution provides a summary volume of his theories of agent-based computational modeling, such as his noted Sugarscape scenario (with Robert Axtell). The work includes his own papers along with salient case studies by other authors. Be advised that most reprinted chapters are dated, such as Epstein’s main statement which is from 1996.

In Generative Social Science, Joshua Epstein argues that this powerful, novel technique permits the social sciences to meet a fundamentally new standard of explanation, in which one "grows" the phenomenon of interest in an artificial society of interacting agents: heterogeneous, boundedly rational actors, represented as mathematical or software objects. After elaborating this notion …., Epstein illustrates it with examples chosen from such far-flung fields as archaeology, civil conflict, the evolution of norms, epidemiology, retirement economics, spatial games, and organizational adaptation. (publisher’s website)

Fischer, Michael, et al. Introduction. Cybernetics and Systems. 36/8, 2005. To a special issue on Culture, Knowledge, and Behavior from an anthropology and systems perspective. Of especial note are papers by Irina Ezhkova on Self-Organizing Representations and On the Nature of Culture and Communication by Jurgen Kluver and Christina Stoica, which proposes that cognition and society is best viewed as complex adaptive systems.

Fiske, Alan. Complementarity Theory: Why Human Social Capabilities Evolved to Require Cultural Complements. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 4/1, 2000. On the reciprocal interplay of discrete, individual “proclivities” and encompassing, contextual “paradigms.”

Human fitness and well-being depend on social coordination characterized by complementarity among the participant’s actions. (76)

Foster, John and J. Stanley Metcalfe, eds. Frontiers of Evolutionary Economics. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2001. Proceedings from a conference to survey and assess new directions in this approach. After some years of applying a Darwinian approach to economic theory, an expansion is now underway to incorporate dynamic self-organizing networks. The same sequence holds again as for many other disciplines to first seek a wider basis in life’s biological evolution and then move on to the deeper influences of nonlinear complex systems. A good tutorial and overview.

This has drawn many evolutionary economists into the modern complexity science literature that attempts to provide an understanding of how and why ‘complex adaptive systems’ engage in processes of self-organization. The goal is to provide an integrated analysis of both selection and self-organization that is uniquely economic in orientation. (ix)

Fujita, Kazuki, et al. Correlations and Forecast of Death Tolls in the Syrian Conflict. arXiv:1612.06746. Fujita and Shigeru Shinomoto, Kyoto University, and Luis Rocha, Karolinska Insititute, Sweden quantify that even such senseless carnage yet seems to exhibit mathematical regularities. We cite in this section to illustrate the pervasive reach of these innate lineaments and constraints. But when and however can humankind’s personsphere discovery become realized so as to release children, women, and men from military madness.

The Syrian civil war has been ongoing since 2011 and has already caused thousands of deaths. The analysis of death tolls helps to understand the dynamics of the conflict and to better allocate resources to the affected areas. In this article, we use information on the daily number of deaths to study temporal and spatial correlations in the data, and exploit this information to forecast events of deaths. We find that the number of deaths per day follows a log-normal distribution during the conflict. We have also identified strong correlations between cities and on consecutive days, implying that major deaths in one location are typically followed by major deaths in both the same location and in other areas. We find that war-related deaths are not random events and observing death tolls in some cities helps to better predict these numbers across the system. (Abstract)

Gallotti, Mattia and Chris Frith. Social Cognition in the We-Mode. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Online March, 2013. Ecole Normale Sperieure, Paris, and University College London psychologists further quantify and affirm the essential Me and We reciprocity that distinguishes and serves all manner of natural and human assemblies. A focus and recognition both of these dual aspects, and their salutary complementarity for any successful group activity is of crucial value today. This United States could not be more in violation, unbeknownst, with Me and We parties, states, cultural factions, in fatal gridlock conflict. See also Gallotti’s paper “A Naturalistic Argument for the Irreducibility of Collective Intentionality” in Philosophy of the Social Sciences (42/1, 2012).

According to many philosophers and scientists, human sociality is explained by the unique capacity to share the mental states of others. Shared intentionality has been widely debated in the past two decades in ways that also enlighten the current ‘interactive turn’ in social cognition. In this article, we examine the function and significance for interacting agents of sharing minds in an irreducibly collective mode called the ‘we-mode’. This first-person plural perspective captures the viewpoint of individuals engaged in social interactions and thus expands each individual's potential for social understanding and action. This proposal shows that a non-reductionist, interaction-based approach can be developed that nevertheless resists recent suggestions concerning the constitutive role of interaction for social cognition. (Abstract)

Gao, Jian, et al. Computational Socioeconomics. Physics Reports. Online June, 2019. The Chinese computer scientist authors JG, Yi-Cheng Zhang and Tao Zhou have multiple postings such as the University of Electronic Science and Technology, MIT Media Lab and University of Fribourg, Switzerland. At 122 pages and 877 references the entry achieves a sophisticated quantification of our intense, electronic, urban, commercial societies. Main sections cover Global development, inequality and complexity; Regional socioeconomic status and urban perception; Individual socioeconomic status and attributes; and Situational awareness and disaster management. These include social psychologies, epidemics, online media, demographics, employment and much more. To reflect, a worldwide retrospective analysis is now possible of our relative human civilizations. By this global vista, a novel mathematical dimension, with scale-free regularities and inherent dynamics, becomes evident as not before.

Uncovering the structure of socioeconomic systems and timely estimation of socioeconomic status are significant for economic development. The understanding of socioeconomic processes provides foundations to quantify global economic development, to map regional industrial structure, and to infer individual socioeconomic status. In this review, we will make a brief manifesto about a new interdisciplinary research field named Computational Socioeconomics, followed by detailed introduction about data resources, computational tools, data-driven methods, theoretical models and novel applications at multiple resolutions, including the quantification of global economic inequality and complexity, the map of regional industrial structure and urban perception, the estimation of individual socioeconomic status and demographic, and the real-time monitoring of emergent events. This review, together with pioneering works we have highlighted, will draw increasing interdisciplinary attentions and induce a methodological shift in future socioeconomic studies. (Abstract)

Garcia, E. Andres. The Use of Complex Adaptive Systems in Organizational Studies. Francis Heylighen, et al, eds. The Evolution of Complexity. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1999. Nonlinear dynamics are applied to social, economic and ecological systems to reveal “a nested hierarchy of open, interconnected systems.”

All of these fields seem to be converging on a paradigm composed of a set of principles common to complex systems, principles which appear to be independent of the specific domain under investigation by consistently operating across many spatial and temporal scales, resolutions, systems types, and scientific disciplines. (281)

Gavrilets, Sergey and Peter Richerson. Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norm Internalization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114/6068, 2017. A University of Tennessee ecologist and an UC Davis environmentalist trace a constant propensity for human groupings to evolve toward more beneficial behaviors via a formation of tacit, agreed standards.

People often ignore material costs they incur when following existing social norms. Some individuals and groups are often willing to pay extremely high costs to enact, defend, or promulgate specific values and norms that they consider important. Such behaviors, often decreasing biological fitness, represent an evolutionary puzzle. We study theoretically the evolutionary origins of human capacity to internalize and follow social norms. We focus on two general types of collective actions our ancestors were regularly involved in: cooperation to overcome nature’s challenges and conflicts with neighboring groups. We show that norm internalization evolves under a wide range of conditions, making cooperation “instinctive.” We make testable predictions about individual and group behavior. (Significance)

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