# Papers

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1 vote
The key feature of online social networks (OSN) is the ability of users to become active, make friends and interact via comments, videos or messages with those around them. This social interaction is typically perceived as critical to the proper functioning of these platforms; therefore, a significant share of OSN research in the recent past has investigated the characteristics and importance of these social links, studying the networks' friendship relations through their topological properties, the structure of the resulting communities and identifying the role and importance of individual members within these networks. <br />In this paper, we present results from a multi-year study of the online social network Digg.com, indicating that the importance of friends and the friend network in the propagation of information is less than originally perceived. While we do note that users form and maintain a social structure along which information is exchanged, the importance of these links and their contribution is very low: Users with even a nearly identical overlap in interests react on average only with a probability of 2% to information propagated and received from friends. Furthermore, in only about 50% of stories that became popular from the entire body of 10 million news we find evidence that the social ties among users were a critical ingredient to the successful spread. Our findings indicate the presence of previously unconsidered factors, the temporal alignment between user activities and the existence of additional logical relationships beyond the topology of the social graph, that are able to drive and steer the dynamics of such OSNs.
"In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations. This skin is already being stitched together. It consists of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices: thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, glucose sensors, EKGs, electroencephalographs. These will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies--even our dreams ....What will the earth's new skin permit us to feel? How will we use its surges of sensation? For several years--maybe for a decade--there will be no central nervous system to manage this vast signaling network. Certainly there will be no central intelligence...some qualities of self-awareness will emerge once the Net is sensually enhanced. Sensuality is only one force pushing the Net toward intelligence". These statements are quoted by an interview by Cherry Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Physics. It is interesting to outline the timeliness and highly predicting power of these statements. In particular, we would like to point to the relevance of the question "What will the earth's new skin permit us to feel?" to the work we are going to discuss in this paper. There are many additional compelling questions, as for example: "How can the electronic earth's skin be made more resilient?"; "How can the earth's electronic skin be improved to better satisfy the need of our society?";"What can the science of complex systems contribute to this endeavour?"
The FuturICT project is a response to the European Flagship Call in the Area of Future and Emerging Technologies, which is planning to spend 1 billion EUR on each of two flagship projects over a period of 10 years. FuturICT seeks to create an open, global but decentralized, democratically controlled information platform that will use online data and real-time measurements together with novel theoretical models and experimental methods to achieve a paradigm shift in our understanding of today's strongly interdependent and complex world and make our techno-socio-economic systems more flexible, adaptive, resilient, sustainable, and livable through a participatory approach.
1 vote
Biological competition is widely believed to result in the evolution of selfish preferences. The related concept of the homo economicus' is at the core of mainstream economics. However, there is also experimental and empirical evidence for other-regarding preferences. Here we present a theory that explains both, self-regarding and other-regarding preferences. Assuming conditions promoting non-cooperative behaviour, we demonstrate that intergenerational migration determines whether evolutionary competition results in a homo economicus' (showing self-regarding preferences) or a homo socialis' (having other-regarding preferences). Our model assumes spatially interacting agents playing prisoner's dilemmas, who inherit a trait determining friendliness', but mutations tend to undermine it. Reproduction is ruled by fitness-based selection without a cultural modification of reproduction rates. Our model calls for a complementary economic theory for networked minds' (the homo socialis') and lays the foundations for an evolutionarily grounded theory of other-regarding agents, explaining individually different utility functions as well as conditional cooperation.
1 vote
A microeconomic model is developed, which accurately predicts the shape of personal income distribution (PID) in the United States and the evolution of the shape over time. The underlying concept is borrowed from geo-mechanics and thus can be considered as mechanics of income distribution. The model allows the resolution of empirical and definitional problems associated with personal income measurements. It also serves as a firm fundament for definitions of income inequality as secondary derivatives from personal income distribution. It is found that in relative terms the PID in the US has not been changing since 1947. Effectively, the Gini coefficient has been almost constant during the last 60 years, as reported by the Census Bureau.
1 vote