Currents 084: Mirta Galesic on Global Collective Behavior

Jim talks with Mirta Galesic about the ideas in her co-authored paper “Stewardship of Global Collective Behavior.” They discuss the meaning of collective behavior, a crisis in network structures, the analogy of the printing press, consequences of person-to-person communication, the capacity for collective forgetting, unpredictable developments in chatbots, bottom-up vs top-down influence, advertising-driven information ecosystems, emergent knobs in social media design, ChatGPT’s political bias, the widespread trust in algorithms, suggestions for reforming Twitter, information decay, viscosity, opportunities & dangers of mass surveillance data, the Twitter Files, free speech & cultural evolution, and much more.

Mirta Galesic is a Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and External Faculty at the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna, Austria, as well as the Vermont Complex Systems Center, UVM. She is also an Associate Researcher at the Harding Center for Risk Literacy and a non-resident system thinking expert at the United States Institute of Peace. She studies how simple cognitive mechanisms interact with social and physical environments to produce seemingly complex social phenomena. Her projects focus on developing empirically grounded computational models of social judgments, social learning, collective problem solving, and opinion dynamics. She is also interested in how people understand and cope with the uncertainty and complexity inherent in many everyday decisions.