This course gives you an overview of the current opportunities and the omnipresent reach of computational social science. The results are all around us, every day, reaching from the services provided by the world’s most valuable companies, over the hidden influence of governmental agencies, to the power of social and political movements. All of them study human behavior in order to shape it. In short, all of them do social science by computational means.
In this course we answer three questions:
I. Why Computational Social Science (CSS) now?
II. What does CSS cover?
III. What are examples of CSS?
In this last part, we take a bird’s-eye view on four main applications of CSS. First, Prof. Blumenstock from UC Berkeley discusses how we can gain insights by studying the massive digital footprint left behind today’s social interactions, especially to foster international development. Second, Prof. Shelton from UC Riverside introduces us to the world of machine learning, including the basic concepts behind this current driver of much of today's computational landscape. Prof. Fowler, from UC San Diego introduces us to the power of social networks, and finally, Prof. Smaldino, from UC Merced, explains how computer simulation help us to untangle some of the mysteries of social emergence.
Computational Social Science (CSS)
-In this module, you will be able to examine the history and current challenges faced by social science through the digital revolution. You will be able to discuss the mystery at the core of society: social emergence. You will be able to recall the fundamental building blocks of the scientific method and how they apply to the new computational tools we now have available. You will be able to defend what people mean when they say that ‘social studies’ are currently maturing to become a ‘real science’.
Example of Computational Social Science: Data Science
-In this module, you will be presented with an example of how computational social science is applied in the real world through a case study. You will be able to discuss examples of digital footprint and describe how computational social science is applied. You will practice an activity and be able to configure a machine to create a database that can later be used for analysis.
Examples of CSS: Machine Learning & AI
-In this module, you will be able to discover how artificial intelligence can convert news stories into a real-time observatory of global unrest and potential terror attacks, and how brain scans can be used to reveal aspects of your moral values. You will be able to practice interacting with artificial intelligence that can interpret your art skills.
Examples of CSS: Social Networks and Computer Simulations
-In this module, you will be able to discover how social networks and human dynamics create systems that are larger than you and me: social systems. You will be able to discuss how social networks and human dynamics follow recognizable patterns. You will be able to identify how social network analysis and computer simulations are currently quite successful in untangling some of the mysteries of social emergence.