Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Complex Social Systems - Lecture 5 in Introduction to Computational Social Science


Published on

Fifth lecture of the course CSS01: Introduction to Computational Social Science at the University of Helsinki, Spring 2015.(

Lecturer: Lauri Eloranta
Questions & Comments:

Published in: Data & Analytics
  • Be the first to comment

Complex Social Systems - Lecture 5 in Introduction to Computational Social Science

  2. 2. • LECTURE 1: Introduction to Computational Social Science [DONE] • Tuesday 01.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room114 • LECTURE 2: Basics of Computation and Modeling [DONE] • Wednesday 02.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room 113 • LECTURE 3: Big Data and Information Extraction [DONE] • Monday 07.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room 114 • LECTURE 4: Network Analysis [DONE] • Monday 14.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room 114 • LECTURE 5: Complex Systems [TODAY] • Tuesday 15.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room 114 • LECTURE 6: Simulation in Social Science • Wednesday 16.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room 113 • LECTURE 7: Ethical and Legal issues in CSS • Monday 21.09. 16:00 – 18:00, U35, Seminar room 114 • LECTURE 8: Summary • Tuesday 22.09. 17:00 – 19:00, U35, Seminar room 114 LECTURESSCHEDULE
  3. 3. • PART 1: Social Complexity • PART 2: Complexity Theory • PART 3: Complex Adaptive Systems LECTURE 5OVERVIEW
  5. 5. • From historical perspective social complexity can be understood as the extent to which a society is governed by something else than a kin- based relations -> via more complex social systems. • Based on relations of authority • E.g hunter-gatherer groups can be seen as simple social systems, where as modern democracies can be seen as very complex • Can be traced historically to the evolution of first agricultural societies SOCIALCOMPLEXITYASA HISTORICALCONCEPT (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  6. 6. • Service scale is a measure of (historical) social complexity where one is able to compare the ordinal relation of social complexity of two different social systems: Band < Tribe < Chiefdom < State < Empire • Phase transitions between entities on the service scale • E.g from Chiefdom to State • Can be used in mapping the historical origins of societies and sociogenesis • West Asia, East Asia, South America, Mesoamerica… SERVICE SCALEELMAN R. SERVICE (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  7. 7. • Globalization, gave rise to significant rise to level of social complexity • Globalization understood as a rapid increase in size (network diameter) and connectivity of world system of policies • Endogenous globalization: within given polity region • Exogenous globalization: between polity regions • From West Asia & Europe to East Asia • From Europe to America • Highly increasing amount of complexity in today’s societies • Economy & Trade • Politics • Information Networks GLOBALIZATIONAND COMPLEXITY (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  8. 8. • Three types of systems 1. Natural systems 2. Human systems 3. Artificial systems • Artificial systems (or artifacts) exist because they have a function: they serve as adaptive buffers between humans and nature • Humans pursue the strategy of building artifacts to achieve goals • Two kinds of artificial systems working in synergy • Tanglible (e.g. roads, buildings) • Intanglibe ( e.g. organisations, social structures) SIMON’STHEORYOFARTIFACTS ANDSOCIALCOMPLEXITY (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  9. 9. • Goal seeking behavior: humans are not passive agents, but instead striving actively for certain goals • Basic goals: Survival & improvement • Adaptation: goal seeking requires adaptation to environment • Artifacts: adaptive buffers between humans and environments • Polity: complexity is manifested in the way society is governed • Ordinal scale of social complexity: different types of society can be compared based on their complexity BASIC FEATURES OF SOCIALCOMPLEXITY (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  10. 10. • Bounded rationality: goal seeking agents are typically not perfectly rational: i.e. decisions are made based on bounded rationality. Social agents have imperfect and faulty information and biases. • Emergence (of phenomena): macroscopic phenomena arise from microscopic behaviours (emergence will be elaborated more in relation to complexity theory slides below). • Near-decomposability: • Social systems are formed of modular hierarchies of parts and parts of parts. Entities that are closer to each other typically have stronger/more connections. • Typical example is an organization with business divisions or business functions. STRUCTURALFEATURES OF SOCIALCOMPLEXITY (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  11. 11. • Social complexity is a latent variable, meaning that one cannot measure it directly • All measures are indirect “proxy” indicators • I.e. size of social organisations, size of cities etc. 1. Qualitative social complexity indicators 2. Quantitative social complexity indicators SOCIALCOMPLEXITY MEASURES (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  12. 12. • Structural: built environment, structures for public and collective use • Pictorial: Imagenary and visual representations o culture, history, politics, economy… • Artifactual: artifacts requiring social complexity (an organisation) to make • Epigraphic: written manifestations of social structures • Forensic: remains of a society have typically indicators social complexity • Locational: selection of the location of the society might provide some clues towards social complexity QUALITATIVE INDICATORS OF SOCIALCOMPLEXITY (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  13. 13. • 1. Formal measures, based on mathematical approached • Graph based metrics and information theory metrics • Undirected clustering coefficient • Shannon’s entropy • 2. Substantive measures, based on specific social, economic, political and cultural variables • Peregrine-Ember-Ember ordinal Guttman scale of social complexity (1. Ceramic production -> 15. Money of any kind) • Human Development Index (UN, aggregate socioeconomic conditions) • Lexical measure of social complexity (minimal description) QUANTITATIVE INDICATORS OF SOCIALCOMPLEXITY (Cioffi-Revilla, 2014.)
  15. 15. • Complexity is a debated concept: 1. what can be considered complex? 2. how to model and research complexity? • No agreed universal definition of complexity or complex system • Parts versus the whole (micro vs. macro): i.e. can you research complexity by researching the parts of the complex system only? • Structure versus agency: i.e. can you research complexity by researching the structure only, and what is the relationship between structure and agency? • Deep ontological and epistemological debates/problems when discussing about modeling complexity or simulating complexity • Positivism/Empiricism vs. critical realism vs. complex realism • Some authors don’t consider big parts of agent based simulation of complex systems to be science at all. COMPLEXITYIS COMPLEX (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014)
  16. 16. • “Complex systems present problems both in mathematical modelling and philosophical foundations. The study of complex systems represents a new approach to science that investigates how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment.” (Wikipedia 2015, Complex Systems) • A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning. (Wikipedia 2015, System) COMPLEXITYISA PROPERTYOF SYSTEMS
  17. 17. ASYSTEM System Border Environment
  18. 18. • “… a simple system is one to which a notion of state can be assigned once and for all, or more generally, one in which Aristotelian causal categories can be independently segregated from one another. Any system for which such a description cannot be provided I will call complex. Thus, in a complex system, the causal categories become intertwined in such a way that no dualistic language of state plus dynamic laws can completely describe it. Complex systems must then process mathematical images different from, and irreducible to, the generalized dynamic systems which have been considered universal.” DEFINING COMPLEXITY ROBERTROSEN (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014)
  19. 19. • Linear (Newtonian) systems state can be described as a function of its values & parameters. Linear systems can also be described with universal laws. • “A nonlinear system, in contrast to a linear system, is a system which does not satisfy the superposition principle – meaning that the output of a nonlinear system is not directly proportional to the input.” (Wikipedia 2015, nonlinear system) COMPLEX SYSTEMSARE NONLINEAR
  20. 20. (Image is public domain. Low pressure system over Iceland by Nasa.)
  21. 21. • Complex systems show emergent behavior, meaning that they may give rise to phenomena and structures that are strikingly different and unforeseen from the underlying structures and attributes. • Abrupt system transitions, multiplicity of states, pattern formation, unpredictable evolution in space and time. • Emergence is closely related to chaos theory and nonlinearity • Organization can emerge from chaos • Emergence can be seen happening based on the interactions between the parts of the systems, or as more holistic interaction between the whole system and its parts (in essence micro vs. macro) COMPLEX SYSTEMS & EMERGENCE (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014)
  22. 22. (Image is public domain. Snow flakes by Wilson Bentley.)
  23. 23. • The Game of Life, is a cellular automaton developed by the British mathematician John H. Conway in 1970. • Simple rules that create emergent phenomena: 1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by under-population. 2. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation. 3. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding. 4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction. (Wikipedia 2015, Conway's_Game_of_Life) GAME OF LIFEAND EMERGENCE
  24. 24. • Complex systems far from equilibric: their state may change radically • This does not mean, that complex systems can’t be stable for long periods of time • Far from equilibric emphasizes the potential or radical change from stable equilibric state • This can be understood also as a adaptation capability: open complex system can adapt radically to its environment • Complex systems state space can oscillate towards many attractors FAR FROM EQUILIBRIC SYSTEMS (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014)
  25. 25. • “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components of which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as concrete unity in space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such network. “ (Maturana and Varela 1980) • In another words, autopoietic systems are self producing: they self- generate the processes and interactions that generate the whole system. • Autopoietic systems do not stay the same, but constantly evolve and change. AUTOPOIESIS
  26. 26. • In a critical view to complexity one could distinguish restricted and general complexity • Restricted complexity: Views that the complexity can be researched by deconstructing its inner parts and researching the interaction of the parts • Agent based modeling and simulation as prime examples • General complexity: Views (holistically) that the whole is greater than the parts and complexity cannot be researched by researching the structure (parts) of the whole  if this is possible, then it is not real complexity or one is actually recreating real complex system • Naturally, not all agree on this distinction RESTRICTEDAND GENERALCOMPLEXITY (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014)
  28. 28. • Complex Social Systems are complex systems or social life. Typically complex social systems are modeled as Complex Adaptive Systems, underlining their capability of change and adapt in relation to its environment. • Basically means viewing any social organization as an complex system that has goals, that learns and that adapts. COMPLEXADAPTIVE SYSTEMS
  29. 29. • “Complex adaptive systems are a 'complex macroscopic collection' of relatively 'similar and partially connected micro-structures' – formed in order to adapt to the changing environment, and increase its survivability as a macro-structure. They are complex in that they are dynamic networks of interactions, and their relationships are not aggregations of the individual static entities. They are adaptive in that the individual and collective behavior mutate and self-organize corresponding to the change-initiating micro-event or collection of events.” (Wikipedia 2015, Complex adaptive systems) COMPLEXADAPTIVE SYSTEMS
  30. 30. • Levin (2002) defines complex adaptive systems based on three properties: • 1. Diversity and individuality of its components • 2. Localized interactions among those components • 3. An autonomous process that uses the outcomes of those interactions to select a subset of those components for replication or enhancement (= evolution) PROPERTIES OF COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS
  31. 31. • Holland (2006) defines the following major features for complex adaptive systems (cas): • Parallelism: big number of agents interacting at the same time, in parallel • Conditional action: actions of the agents usually depend on the signals they receive • Modularity: interaction patterns and behavior based on modularity, micro level rules, that together are able to react on macro level • Adaptation and evolution: the agents in cas change over time: they learn which rules work and which do not and they discover new rules FEATURES OF COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEM
  32. 32. • Key research approach is related to modeling complex adaptive systems in various ways • Agent based modeling/simulation • Equation/Formula based modeling/simulation • Statistical modeling based on aggregate data • Social Network Analysis • Case analysis method (also QCA) • Byrne & Callaghan (2014) underline the importance of holism (quantitative + qualitative) in research and connecting the models and simulations to real world (data) in some way: otherwise your simulations might be naïve fantasies of reality. RESEARCH METHODS FOR COMPLEX SYSTEMS (Cioffi-Revilla 2014, Byrne & Callaghan 2014.)
  33. 33. • Model is a formal and purposeful representation and abstraction of reality • Scientific Modeling is a scientific activity, the aim of which is to make a particular part or feature of the world easier to understand, define, quantify, visualize, or simulate by referencing it to existing and usually commonly accepted knowledge. It requires selecting and identifying relevant aspects of a situation in the real world and then using different types of models for different aims, such as conceptual models to better understand, operational models to operationalize, mathematical models to quantify, and graphical models to visualize the subject. (Wikipedia 2015, Scientific Modeling) • Reality  Abstraction  Model of the Phenomena MODEL
  34. 34. 1. Models of Phenomena: model based on real world phenomena (e.g. how ants collect food) 2. Models of Data: modeling based on raw data (e.g. plotting) 3. Models of Theory: model is the structural and formal presentation of a textual theory • Different Modeling Perspectives (Ontological) • Physical models (e.g. miniature buildings) • Fictional models (e.g. Bohr model of atom) • Mathematical models: set-theory models, equations.. • Descriptions • Mixed models • A good summary on scientific modeling: • MODELSAS REPRESENTATIONS (Stanford Encyclopedia 2015.)
  35. 35. • Deep epistemological and philosophy of science related questions, which are not unproblematic • What is the true relationship between the model and reality? • What can be actually researched with models? • What questions the models are actually able to answer? • “A fact from them [simulation] is, at best, the outcome of a computer simulation; it is rarely a fact about the world” (Smith 1995, referred in Lansing 2003) • Modeling takes also a certain stance on the philosophy of science, leaning towards empiricism & positivism, or at least critical realism. MODELING IS PROBLEMATIC
  36. 36. • A play in a theatre ends, and people start to clap. Initially some stand up to cheer for the actors, but some decide initially to sit down. What will happen next? Will a standing ovation occur, and how could this be determined? • How to model a standing ovation? • How information spreads between the agents? • How actions of agents are timed? • What is the behavior of the agents? EXAMPLE:THE STANDING OVATION MODEL
  37. 37. • The standing ovation problem modeled as complex adaptive system? • 1. Watch the video of Scott E. Page explaining the standing ovation problem in general terms: • 2. Read the original research article to get the feel how the actual research was done and how the article was structured: gOvation.MillerPage.pdf • What is the relationship between the standing ovation model and reality? Can the model tell something about reality or does it only tell something about the model? LECTUREASSIGNMENT1
  38. 38. • Read Warren Weawer’s article on science and complexity. • "Science and Complexity", American Scientist, 36: 536 (1948). • Based upon material presented in Chapter 1' "The Scientists Speak," Boni & Gaer Inc.,1947. All rights reserved. • What does he mean by organized and disorganized complexity? LECTUREASSIGNMENT 2
  39. 39. • Why all hipsters look the same? • 1. Read this story to get an overview: mathematician-who-proved-why-hipsters-all-look-alike/ • 2. Read the research article to get the details: Touboul, J. (2014). The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same. arXiv preprint arXiv:1410.8001. • What modeling methods are used? • How is the research paper structured? • What problems there are in the model? • Do you find the model relevant? LECTUREASSIGNMENT3
  40. 40. • Miller, J. H., & Page, S. E. (2004). The standing ovation problem. Complexity, 9(5), 8-16. • Lansing, J. S. (2003). Complex adaptive systems. Annual review of anthropology, 183-204. • Geli-Mann, M. (1994). Complex adaptive systems. Complexity: Metaphors, models and reality, 17-45. • Innes, J. E., & Booher, D. E. (1999). Consensus building and complex adaptive systems: A framework for evaluating collaborative planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 65(4), 412-423. • Holland, J. H. (2006). Studying complex adaptive systems. Journal of Systems Science and Complexity, 19(1), 1-8. • Levin, S. (2003). Complex adaptive systems: exploring the known, the unknown and the unknowable. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, 40(1), 3-19. • Tan, J., Wen, H. J., & Awad, N. (2005). Health care and services delivery systems as complex adaptive systems. Communications of the ACM, 48(5), 36-44. LECTURE 5 READING
  41. 41. • Cioffi-Revilla, C. 2014. Introduction to Computational Social Science. Springer-Verlag, London • Page, S. E.; Miller, J. H. 2007. Complex Adaptive Systems. Princeton University Press, Princeton. • Byrne, D.; Callaghan, G. 2014. Complexity Theory and The Social Sciences. Routledge, New York. • Maturana, H. R.; Varela, F. J. 1980. Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 42). Kluwer Group, Dordrecht. • Holland, J. H. (2006). Studying complex adaptive systems. Journal of Systems Science and Complexity, 19(1), 1-8. • Levin, S. (2003). Complex adaptive systems: exploring the known, the unknown and the unknowable. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, 40(1), 3-19. • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012. Models in Science. REFERENCES
  42. 42. Thank You! Questions and comments? twitter: @laurieloranta