Interactions between technology and social behavior

By Angela Nelson

I recently came across this article in Science by Alessandro Vespignani from Indiana University: Predicting the Behavior of Techno-Social Systems. Vespignani provides an interesting discussion of the multi-scale nature of networks, and how the types of behavior that occur at varying scales can differ widely in a given condition yet the system in its entirety is dependent on the interaction of behavior at all levels.  He also talks about what this means in terms of using computational modeling to predict network behavior, both in a steady state, and in times of social disruptions (such as pandemics or major natural disasters).

The figure below shows a simulated pandemic originating in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Fig. 2 Epidemic invasion tree obtained from the simulations of a pandemic originating in Hanoi, Vietnam. The nodes identify 3200 populations worldwide, and the directed links indicate the path along which the epidemic has moved from one population to the other. The color map from dark red to dark blue is according to the time ordering of the epidemic invasion. Simulations obtained with the worldwide epidemic and mobility model from (38).


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