The Artificial University: A Decision-Support Tool for Operating Universities in the COVID-19 Era

The Artificial University: A Decision-Support Tool for Operating Universities in the COVID-19 Era

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A number of universities with the requisite resources and personnel are building bespoke simulations to help guide policy-level decisions about operating under COVID-19 conditions. Such simulations have access to confidential data but the research can’t be published or shared. On the other end of the spectrum are one-size-fits-all sources of advice, which can’t take account of the hard facts that universities operate in different contexts with different measures of what counts as success. Many universities can’t shut down football for short-term revenue and long-term fund-raising reasons, and centralized contact tracing would be a perilous venture in a university with privacy-conscious students, faculty, and staff. The Artificial University (TAU) facilitates the evaluation of intervention plans using multiple metrics, generates insights to inform policy decisions, and produces visualizations that help to communicate…
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What is Human Simulation?

What is Human Simulation?

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Human simulation is the application of techniques from computational simulation and data science to achieve two complementary goals. The theoretical goal is to enhance research in the humanities and human-science domains with reference to the nexus of human minds, human cultures, and physical environments. The practical goal is to solve urgent social and public-health problems using data-driven decision-support tools and artificial environments for policy exploration. The Human Simulation Group, which operates this site, is an international collective of scholars and researchers representing several organizations and numerous research projects. There are not many venues where philosophers, ethicists, and historians work alongside social scientists, public-health experts, policy professionals, legal scholars, computer engineers, and strategic communications specialists. This radical multidisciplinarity is part of what makes the Human Simulation Group distinctive. What can Human…
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Human Simulation Published

Human Simulation Published

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This uniquely inspirational and practical book explores human simulation, which is the application of computational modeling and simulation to research subjects in the humanities disciplines. It delves into the fascinating process of collaboration among experts who usually don’t have much to do with one another – computer engineers and humanities scholars – from the perspective of the humanities scholars. It also explains the process of developing models and simulations in these interdisciplinary teams. Each chapter takes the reader on a journey, presenting a specific theory about the human condition, a model of that theory, discussion of its implementation, analysis of its results, and an account of the collaborative experience. Contributing authors with different fields of expertise share how each model was validated, discuss relevant datasets, explain development strategies, and frankly…
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What can computer models tell us about religion?

What can computer models tell us about religion?

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On the face of it, it might not seem that computers could do much to simulate religion. And in way, that’s true – no computer program could model the subjective contours of, say, a profound religious experience. But religion is more than inner experiences. It’s also a social and cognitive phenomenon, one with many implications for observable real-world outcomes. For instance, it affects people’s voting patterns, their moral outlooks, and marriage and mating decisions. In turn, these decisions have a real impact on demographics, politics, conflict, and more. When we use computer models to simulate religious behaviors and cognition, we’re dealing with these observable phenomena. We’re trying to understand how religious beliefs and commitments can affect social patterns and politics. We’re investigating how our evolutionary history may have shaped us…
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