"There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
– Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
When human beings saw the first pictures of the Earth from space, the impact was transformative. New instruments for taking in new vistas, for understanding our relationships and contexts at a different scale, have in some ways defined the history of not just science but the evolution of intelligence. And now, thanks to the surfeit of textual data offered up by social media, researchers can peer into the dynamics of human society and analyze the turbulent flows of stories that drive our collective behavior and twist time itself into nonlinear structures. As a species, we are on the cusp of a new epoch in which the body politic reveals itself to us in real-time like a single human body in an MRI. How will these tools change how we think about the world and what it means to be a person in it?
Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.
This week we speak with Peter Dodds of the University of Vermont’s Complex Systems Center and Computational Story Lab about how to use Twitter data as a kind of satellite telescope observing the collective mentation of humankind — what it reveals, and what it doesn’t, opening a cornucopia of questions about how we measure sentiment and the power of narrative for social control.
Tis the season, so if you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at santafe.edu/podcastgive — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage.
Avid readers take note that SFI Press’ latest volume, Complexity Economics: Proceedings of the Santa Fe Institute's 2019 Fall Symposium, is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook formats.
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