Vabljeni predavatelj – red. prof. dr. Matjaž Perc

red. prof. dr. Matjaž Perc

Univerza v Mariboru



Naslov: Human Cooperation in an Uncertain World

The human race is remarkable in many ways. It is said that we are champions of cooperation. We sacrifice personal benefits for the common good, we work together to achieve what we are unable to achieve alone, we are compassionate, we care for one another, and we are civilized, and we are social. And through this cooperation, we have had astonishing evolutionary success. We are by far the dominant species on this planet, and there is an abundance of technological breakthroughs and innovations that make our lives better. At the same time, our societies are also home to millions that live on the edge of existence. We need to learn how to cooperate better with one another, and we have to understand that our actions and the choice that we make everyday have consequences that go far beyond our local communities.

Methods of statistical physics and network science have been recognized as valuable for understanding human cooperation. However, unlike pairwise interactions among particles that typically govern physical systems, interactions among humans often involve group interactions, and they also involve a larger number of possible states even for the most simplified description of reality. The complexity of the problem is further amplified by the inevitable uncertainty and imperfect information that pervades all aspects of our existence. When studying human cooperation, it is therefore important to consider not only the fact that the range of interactions among people is limited and thus best described by networks, but also that these networks are subject to unpredictable variations and change.

In the lecture, I will present recent theoretical advances through which we hope to develop a predictive, computational theory that will allow us to better understand human cooperation in an uncertain world. From the mitigation of social crisis and inequality to the preservation of natural resources for next generations, by having a firm theoretical grip on human cooperation we can hope to engineer better social systems and develop more efficient policies for a sustainable and better future.