Saving Human Lives: What Complexity Science and Information Systems can Contribute

Journal of Statistical Physics 158 (2015) 735-781

67 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2014 Last revised: 20 Feb 2017

See all articles by Dirk Helbing

Dirk Helbing

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Dirk Brockmann

Humboldt University of Berlin

Thomas Chadefaux

Trinity College Dublin, Department of Political Science

Karsten Donnay

Department of Political Science, University of Zurich

Ulf Blanke

ETH Zürich

Olivia Woolley-Meza

ETH Zürich

Mehdi Moussaid

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Anders Johansson

University College London; ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich

Jens Krause

Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology

Sebastian Schutte

ETH Zürich

Matjaz Perc

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor

Date Written: February 3, 2015

Abstract

We discuss models and data of crowd disasters, crime, terrorism, war and disease spreading to show that conventional recipes, such as deterrence strategies, are often not effective and sufficient to contain them. Many common approaches do not provide a good picture of the actual system behavior, because they neglect feedback loops, instabilities and cascade effects. The complex and often counter-intuitive behavior of social systems and their macro-level collective dynamics can be better understood by means of complexity science. We highlight that a suitable system design and management can help to stop undesirable cascade effects and to enable favorable kinds of self-organization in the system. In such a way, complexity science can help to save human lives.

Keywords: crowd disasters, crime, terrorism, war, disease spreading, complexity science

JEL Classification: C7, D8, H4

Suggested Citation

Helbing, Dirk and Brockmann, Dirk and Chadefaux, Thomas and Donnay, Karsten and Blanke, Ulf and Woolley-Meza, Olivia and Moussaid, Mehdi and Johansson, Anders and Krause, Jens and Schutte, Sebastian and Perc, Matjaz, Saving Human Lives: What Complexity Science and Information Systems can Contribute (February 3, 2015). Journal of Statistical Physics 158 (2015) 735-781, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2390049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2390049

Dirk Helbing

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Clausiusstrasse 50
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.coss.ethz.ch

Dirk Brockmann

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

Thomas Chadefaux

Trinity College Dublin, Department of Political Science ( email )

College Green 2-3
Dublin 2
Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://www.thomaschadefaux.com

Karsten Donnay

Department of Political Science, University of Zurich ( email )

Affolternstrasse 56
Zürich, CH-8050
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.karstendonnay.net

Ulf Blanke

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015
Switzerland

Olivia Woolley-Meza

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015
Switzerland

Mehdi Moussaid

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Human Development ( email )

Lentzeallee 94
D-14195 Berlin, 14195
Germany

Anders Johansson

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

Jens Krause

Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology ( email )

Müggelseedamm 310
Berlin
Germany

Sebastian Schutte

ETH Zürich ( email )

Matjaz Perc (Contact Author)

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor ( email )

Koroska cesta 160
Maribor, SI-2000
Slovenia

HOME PAGE: http://www.matjazperc.com/

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