Artificial society

# Artificial society

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Artificial Society is the specific agent based computational model for computer simulation
Computer simulation
A computer simulation, a computer model, or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system...

in social analysis. It is mostly connected to the theme in complex system
Complex system
A complex system is a system composed of interconnected parts that as a whole exhibit one or more properties not obvious from the properties of the individual parts....

, emergence
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

, Monte Carlo Method
Monte Carlo method
Monte Carlo methods are a class of computational algorithms that rely on repeated random sampling to compute their results. Monte Carlo methods are often used in computer simulations of physical and mathematical systems...

, computational sociology
Computational sociology
Computational sociology is a branch of sociology that uses computationally intensive methods to analyze and model social phenomena. Using computer simulations, artificial intelligence, complex statistical methods, and new analytic approaches like social network analysis, computational sociology...

, multi-agent system, and evolutionary programming
Evolutionary programming
Evolutionary programming is one of the four major evolutionary algorithm paradigms. It is similar to genetic programming, but the structure of the program to be optimized is fixed, while its numerical parameters are allowed to evolve....

. The concept itself is simple enough. Actually reaching this conceptual point took a while. Complex mathematical models have been, and are, common; deceivingly simple models only have their roots in the late forties, and took the advent of the microcomputer to really get up to speed.

## Overview

The aim is to construct parallel simulations consisting of computational devices, referred to as agents, with given properties, in order to model the target phenomena. The subject is the process of emergence
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

from the lower (micro) level of a social system to the higher (or macro) level.

The history of agent-based modeling can be traced back to Von Neumann machines, the concept of a machine capable of reproduction. The device he proposed would follow precisely detailed instructions to fashion a copy of itself. The concept was then extended by von Neumann's friend Stanislaw Ulam, also a mathematician, who suggested that the machine be built on paper, as a collection of cells on a grid. The idea intrigued von Neumann, who drew it up, thus creating the first of the devices later termed cellular automata
Cellular automaton
A cellular automaton is a discrete model studied in computability theory, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology and microstructure modeling. It consists of a regular grid of cells, each in one of a finite number of states, such as "On" and "Off"...

.

A further advance was achieved by mathematician John Conway
John Horton Conway
John Horton Conway is a prolific mathematician active in the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory and coding theory...

. He constructed the well-known game of life
Conway's Game of Life
The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970....

. Unlike von Neumann's machine, Conway's Game of Life
Conway's Game of Life
The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970....

operated according to tremendously simple rules in a virtual world in the form of a 2-dimensional checkerboard
Checkerboard
A checkerboard or chequerboard is a board of chequered pattern on which English draughts is played. It is an 8×8 board and the 64 squares are of alternating dark and light color, often red and black....

.

The application of the agent-based model as a social model was primarily initiated by computer scientist Craig Reynolds
Craig Reynolds (computer graphics)
Craig W. Reynolds , is an artificial life and computer graphics expert, who created the Boids artificial life simulation in 1986. Reynolds worked on the film Tron as a scene programmer, and on Batman Returns as part of the video image crew. He is the author of the OpenSteer library.-External...

. He attempted to model living biological agents, a method known as artificial life
Artificial life
Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986...

, a term coined by Christopher Langton
Christopher Langton
Christopher Langton is an American computer scientist and one of the founders of the field of artificial life. He coined the term in the late 1980s when he organized the first "Workshop on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems" at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1987.Langton made...

.

The computational methods of artificial life
Artificial life
Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986...

were applied to the analysis of social systems, christened "the artificial society" by Joshua M. Epstein
Joshua M. Epstein
Joshua M. Epstein is Professor of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute.- Early life and Education:Epstein was born in New York City and grew up in Amherst....

and Robert Axtell
Robert Axtell
- References :...

. Eventually, the artificial society provided a new method for sociological analysis in the form of computational sociology
Computational sociology
Computational sociology is a branch of sociology that uses computationally intensive methods to analyze and model social phenomena. Using computer simulations, artificial intelligence, complex statistical methods, and new analytic approaches like social network analysis, computational sociology...

. The principle problem is that of classical sociology, the issue of macro-micro linkage: as first articulated by French Sociologist Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

, the question of how individuals within a social system influence and are influenced by the macrosocial level.

The artificial society has been widely accepted by recent sociology as a promising method characterized by the extensive use of computer program
Computer program
A computer program is a sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task with a computer. A computer requires programs to function, typically executing the program's instructions in a central processor. The program has an executable form that the computer can use directly to execute...

s and computer simulation
Computer simulation
A computer simulation, a computer model, or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system...

s which include evolutionary algorithm
Evolutionary algorithm
In artificial intelligence, an evolutionary algorithm is a subset of evolutionary computation, a generic population-based metaheuristic optimization algorithm. An EA uses some mechanisms inspired by biological evolution: reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection...

s (EA), genetic algorithm
Genetic algorithm
A genetic algorithm is a search heuristic that mimics the process of natural evolution. This heuristic is routinely used to generate useful solutions to optimization and search problems...

s (GA), genetic programming
Genetic programming
In artificial intelligence, genetic programming is an evolutionary algorithm-based methodology inspired by biological evolution to find computer programs that perform a user-defined task. It is a specialization of genetic algorithms where each individual is a computer program...

(GP), memetic programming (MP), agent based model
Agent based model
An agent-based model is a class of computational models for simulating the actions and interactions of autonomous agents with a view to assessing their effects on the system as a whole...

s, and cellular automata
Cellular automaton
A cellular automaton is a discrete model studied in computability theory, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology and microstructure modeling. It consists of a regular grid of cells, each in one of a finite number of states, such as "On" and "Off"...

(CA).

For many, artificial society is a meeting point for people from many other more traditional fields in interdisciplinary research, such as linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, and sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

in which unusual computational and theoretical approaches that would be controversial within their native discipline can be discussed. As a field, it has had a controversial history; some have characterized it as "practical theology" or a "fact-free science". However, the recent publication of artificial society articles in the scientific journals e.g.: Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal created and edited by Nigel Gilbert . The journal publishes articles in computational sociology, social simulation, complexity science, and artificial societies. Its approach is...

and Journal of Social Complexity shows that artificial life techniques are becoming somewhat more accepted within the sociological mainstream.

## See also

• agent based model
Agent based model
An agent-based model is a class of computational models for simulating the actions and interactions of autonomous agents with a view to assessing their effects on the system as a whole...

• boids
Boids
Boids is an artificial life program, developed by Craig Reynolds in 1986, which simulates the flocking behaviour of birds. His paper on this topic was published in 1987 in the proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH conference...

• complex system
Complex system
A complex system is a system composed of interconnected parts that as a whole exhibit one or more properties not obvious from the properties of the individual parts....

• computational sociology
Computational sociology
Computational sociology is a branch of sociology that uses computationally intensive methods to analyze and model social phenomena. Using computer simulations, artificial intelligence, complex statistical methods, and new analytic approaches like social network analysis, computational sociology...

• emergence
Emergence
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems....

• evolutionary algorithm
Evolutionary algorithm
In artificial intelligence, an evolutionary algorithm is a subset of evolutionary computation, a generic population-based metaheuristic optimization algorithm. An EA uses some mechanisms inspired by biological evolution: reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection...

• simulated reality
Simulated reality
Simulated reality is the proposition that reality could be simulated—perhaps by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation....

• social complexity
Social complexity
In the discipline of sociology, social complexity is a theoretical construct useful in the analysis of society.- Overview :Contemporary definitions of complexity in the sciences are found in relation to systems theory, where a phenomenon under study has many parts and many possible arrangements of...

• social simulation
Social simulation
Social simulation is a research field that applies computational methods to study issues in the social sciences. The issues explored include problems in sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, geography, archaeology and linguistics ....