Agent_Zero: Toward Neurocognitive Foundations for Generative Social Science [EPUB]
05 February 2015, 23:30
2014 | EPUB | 12.95MB
In this pioneering synthesis, Joshua Epstein introduces a new theoretical entity: Agent_Zero. This software individual, or "agent," is endowed with distinct emotional/affective, cognitive/deliberative, and social modules. Grounded in contemporary neuroscience, these internal components interact to generate observed, often far-from-rational, individual behavior. When multiple agents of this new type move and interact spatially, they collectively generate an astonishing range of dynamics spanning the fields of social conflict, psychology, public health, law, network science, and economics.
Epstein weaves a computational tapestry with threads from Plato, Hume, Darwin, Pavlov, Smith, Tolstoy, Marx, James, and Dostoevsky, among others. This transformative synthesis of social philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and agent-based modeling will fascinate scholars and students of every stripe. Epstein’s computer programs are provided in the book or on its Princeton University Press website, along with movies of his "computational parables."
Agent_Zero is a signal departure in what it includes (e.g., a new synthesis of neurally grounded internal modules), what it eschews (e.g., standard behavioral imitation), the phenomena it generates (from genocide to financial panic), and the modeling arsenal it offers the scientific community.
For generative social science, Agent_Zero presents a groundbreaking vision and the tools to realize it.
Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling [EPUB]
05 February 2015, 23:29
2007 | EPUB | 3.53MB
Agent-based computational modeling is changing the face of social science. 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 of generative explanation in a pair of overarching foundational chapters, 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. In elegant chapter preludes, he explains how these widely diverse modeling studies support his sweeping case for generative explanation.
Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains [EPUB]
05 February 2015, 17:06
2015 | EPUB | 2.57MB
We live in a world unimaginable only decades ago: a domain of backlit screens, instant information, and vibrant experiences that can outcompete dreary reality. Our brave new technologies offer incredible opportunities for work and play. But at what price?
Now renowned neuroscientist Susan Greenfield—known in the United Kingdom for challenging entrenched conventional views—brings together a range of scientific studies, news events, and cultural criticism to create an incisive snapshot of “the global now.” Disputing the assumption that our technologies are harmless tools, Greenfield explores whether incessant exposure to social media sites, search engines, and videogames is capable of rewiring our brains, and whether the minds of people born before and after the advent of the Internet differ.
Stressing the impact on Digital Natives—those who’ve never known a world without the Internet—Greenfield exposes how neuronal networking may be affected by unprecedented bombardments of audiovisual stimuli, how gaming can shape a chemical landscape in the brain similar to that in gambling addicts, how surfing the Net risks placing a premium on information rather than on deep knowledge and understanding, and how excessive use of social networking sites limits the maturation of empathy and identity.
But Mind Change also delves into the potential benefits of our digital lifestyle. Sifting through the cocktail of not only threat but opportunity these technologies afford, Greenfield explores how gaming enhances vision and motor control, how touch tablets aid students with developmental disabilities, and how political “clicktivism” foments positive change.
In a world where adults spend ten hours a day online, and where tablets are the common means by which children learn and play, Mind Change reveals as never before the complex physiological, social, and cultural ramifications of living in the digital age. A book that will be to the Internet what An Inconvenient Truth was to global warming, Mind Change is provocative, alarming, and a call to action to ensure a future in which technology fosters—not frustrates—deep thinking, creativity, and true fulfillment.