Archivos para social processes
Timothy A. Kohler & George J. Gumerman: Dynamics in Human and Primate Societies: Agent-Based Modeling of Social and Spatial Processes
Dynamics in Human and Primate Societies: Agent-Based Modeling of Social and Spatial Processes is a book of articles edited by Timothy Kohler and George Gumerman. Drawing upon complex adaptive systems (CAS) theory, and focusing upon primate and simple human societies, these diverse and insightful studies expand the horizon of agent simulation research.
Attempts to distinguish scholarly periods can be imprecise and arbitrary, yet they can also help identify and characterise progress in a field of study. This collection represents a significant contribution to the agent simulation research program and, in fact, might be regarded as an exemplar of a third stage of agent simulation studies.
The early work of Schelling, Maynard Smithand Axelrod provided a first wave of exemplars demonstrating the potential of a new approach to social simulation research. A new generation of agent simulation research, including Epstein and Axtell , Axelrod and Young , provided a second wave of exemplars. They respectively illustrate, inter alia:
- how agent simulation can be applied to an interactive variety of social processes
- the range of social topics that can be addressed using simulation based on simple agents
- the emergence of social institutions and structure from agent strategies
From the standpoint of standard periodisation, it seems premature to identify a new stage in agent simulation research. However, considering the substantive contributions made by these studies, a new level of sophistication is introduced into agent modelling. In particular, a number of chapters in this collection serve as exemplars in the area of empirically grounded agent simulation, investigations that stand in visible contrast to the study of abstract social processes.
Growing Artificial Societies is a groundbreaking book that posits a new mechanism for studying populations and their evolution. By combining the disciplines of cellular automata and “artificial life”, Joshua M. Epstein and Robert Axtell have developed a mechanism for simulating all sorts of emergent behavior within a grid of cells managed by a computer. In their simulations, simple rules governing individuals’ “genetics”” and their competition for foodstuffs result in highly complex societal behaviors. Epstein and Axtell explore the role of seasonal migrations, pollution, sexual reproduction, combat, and transmission of disease or even “culture” within their artificial world, using these results to draw fascinating parallels with real- world societies. In their simulation, for instance, allowing the members to “trade” increases overall well-being but also increases economic inequality. In Growing Artificial Societies, the authors provide a workable framework for studying social processes in microcosm, a thoroughly fascinating accomplishment.