we had a roundtable followup to the social nets discussion day -my 4 cents were
1. why don't we build more things to test our theorie?
2 . these things might be new socieities...e.g. fit-for-purpose replacements for socialism and free market capitalism
3. how about we have a new way to do inter-disciplinary research in this area, using social networks to do the research???
People need to read more - for example, when I look at The Rational OPtimist, by Matt Ridley, I discover that he seems completely unaware of the work by Marcel Mauss nearly 100 years ago on The Gift, which covers all the ideas Ridley thinks he's made up about exchange! I discover that people don't know the work by Mancur Olsen on the Logic of Collective Action from 50 years ago. Even people who've heard of Dunbar's number, don't read Gossip, Grooming and the Evolution of Language.
More essential readings
Michael Kearns work on Graphs&Games
Edward Cherry, On Human Communication (probably out of print....)
Lots of John Doyle's work on Highly Optimised Tolerant systems....
etc etc - maybe I should write a book about it:)
some people asked about our (CL work in social nets in RL and online - there are various papers from the project (some by Dunbar et al linked at
1. social science is nearly as dismal as economics
a) they couldn't predict the arab spring
b) even given all the twitter data, they can't even _explain_ the past of the arab spring, let alone build a model that predicts the future
c) they don't bother looking at places where there WASNT an arab spring (e.g. EU countries like spain, greece, ireland, where occupy/indigandos movements were MUCH stronger and online, but have not led to any political change, in fact so far, probably the opposite:(
2. no-one has thought that the online social nets technology (and web in general) might actually make completely new forms of government possible other than socialist or capitalist democracy, religious states, or dictatorships (do I hear you say cyber-syndical anarchism?)
Doesn;t any one in this community think big (e.g. Kropotkin, Marx, etc) even terry eagleton who is about a million years old is smarter:)
3. I find it depressing that social scientists think academics do research for fame (i.e. impact) rather than an altruistic model, or even just plain curiosity...are they so reductionist that the world splits into commercial motives or personal ego-soothing ? maybe it does in their disciple - maybe that's why it Â isn't really a discipline:)