Artificial Societies

A Concept for Basic Research on the Societal Impacts of Information Technology

by Carl H. Builder, Steven C. Bankes


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The authors argue that the most important policymaking over the next several decades will occur at the intersections of the information technologies and social change. Policies to control and exploit the effects of the information technologies upon societies will be highly sought; but the understanding of those effects upon different cultures and societal structures will probably be less than necessary or desired for sound policymaking. The authors propose a long-term scheme for basic research into the effects of information technology upon different societies by means of artificial societies created in a computer laboratory. The study of such artificial societies under different information overlays could provide the basis for theory development and a body of research to inform policymaking in the future.

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