Towards a Science of Psychohistory

Computational Social Science lets you compute what a group of people will do given their various levels of motivations (self-interest, wanting to fit in, etc.) Correspondingly, given the outcome Computational Social Science can calculate the varied and sundry motivations that went into creating that outcome.

This is real, solid hard science, with variables and equations and everything -- science with mathematically verifiable results, not pages of dense, hard-to-read prose because we don't actually have the equations to express what we know about the subject in question.

Those of us who have braved the wilds of science fiction will recognize this by another name -- Isaac Asimov's fictional science of psychohistory. Computational Social Science is social science taking the first steps toward becoming a hard science -- and guess what? Hard sciences are where we make the fastest transition from pure science to everyday engineering.

3 Comments

The only reason I ask is that I do. You show me yours and I'll show you mine ;)

The interesting problems in science are located beyond hard science, and if you don't need any hard-to-read prose you have likely over-simplified the domain.

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About Mark Leighton Fisher

user-pic Perl/CPAN user since 1992.