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Dirk Helbing

Recorded 07 December 2012 in Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland


What can we learn from the way society is organized? What are the underlying principles? How can we use them to design new technological systems?

Along the lines of these guiding questions, I will start with models of pedestrians and crowds, and the applications in logistics and traffic light control they have inspired.

It will be shown that self-organization is a wide-spread principle underlying the emergence of social coordination, cooperation, and social norms. These phenomena can now be dynamically modeled based on evolutionary principles, which are transferable to ICT systems as well. I will also discuss, how and why the wrong kinds of system designs can lead to breakdowns of traffic flows, cooperation, or financial markets. It will be argued that the theory of complex systems can help to provide an explanatory understanding of desirable and undesirable cascading effects and guidelines for the design of socially interactive systems (such as the 'ecosystem' of financial trading algorithms).

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