Computational Social Science: Exciting Progress and Future Challenges

author: Duncan Watts, Microsoft Research
published: Sept. 5, 2016,   recorded: August 2016,   views: 1652
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Description

The past 15 years have witnessed a remarkable increase in both the scale and scope of social and behavioral data available to researchers, leading some to herald the emergence of a new field: “computational social science.” Against these exciting developments stands a stubborn fact: that in spite of many thousands of published papers, there has been surprisingly little progress on the “big” questions that motivated the field in the first place—questions concerning systemic risk in financial systems, problem solving in complex organizations, and the dynamics of epidemics or social movements, among others. In this talk I highlight some examples of research that would not have been possible just a handful of years ago and that illustrate the promise of CSS. At the same time, they illustrate its limitations. I then conclude with some thoughts on how CSS can bridge the gap between its current state and its potential.

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