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SIG Session [clear filter]
Thursday, August 6

16:00 CEST

Interdisciplinary Co-Operation and System Modelling as Means to Govern the Anthropocene

Whether or not human beings act a geological force, it is obvious there are numerous of environmental problems that arise from geosphere-anthroposphere interaction which need to be treated in the future. Furthermore the governance of the partly adjacent cultural changes is due to dimensions a challenge of global proportion not seen earlier in the history of the earth. Humans do not only possess the power to destroy, but also to restore ecosystems of the earth. Solutions to the ozone depletion by technical developments of new fluids has been found. Acidification of Swedish low buffer soils and lakes, sensitive to acid rain, has decreased due to concerted action on Sulphur emission control in large parts of Europe. The standing biomass of Swedish forests has doubled in 100 years. The handling and recycling of solid waste has resulted in a considerable reduction of deposits in large parts of the world. There are many examples humans have been able to solve environmental problems when everybody agrees action is needed, and this is encouraging.

This paper argues that advanced systems analysis and modelling of environmental systems is one of the most efficient ways to establish a knowledge base for governing the societies towards sustainability. In the 1960 many observations and data made it evident that the environment in most countries was in a bad state. To get a holistic view of the complex problems and to clarify the relationships of structure and function, systems thinking was applied e.g. modelling, cybernetics, systems analysis, Life Cycle Assessment and energy and material flow analysis. These tools, collectively often named integrated assessment, help to communicate fundamental knowledge and support decision-making when identifying solutions. This basically natural scientific knowledge has also influenced the development within e.g. economy and jurisprudence and today ecological economy and environmental law assume ecological systems as fundamental.

The complexity of ecosystems and environmental issues can be understood by advanced scientific tools as modelling as a base for interdisciplinary co-operation. Each part of such models will of course be an approximation, but validation and verification of the models will make them useful. An ongoing research project at Mid Sweden University aims at building a complete carbon and energy balance model of the Swedish region Jämtland, based upon the Danish Samsø-model. The model will be part of the decision base for the county administration of Jämtland how to find ways to reach sustainability. Such models will make it possible to refer to a robust scientific base, thereby making it easier to argue for appropriate measures and actions. At the same time it will be clear what data these actions rest upon thereby making it easier to identify possible errors or limitations. A model of the energy production sector of the region shows governance complexity taking aspects of electricity production and export into consideration. 

By applying structured scientific knowledge built into models of systems, in-depth knowledge can be developed, thus learning more about the real boundaries. From these boundaries, limit values and recommendations can be set and communicated to gain social understanding. Applying system’s thinking seems to be a most creative way to govern the era of conscious environmental awakening – the Anthropocene or whatever it is.

Presenter / Artist

Torbjörn Skytt

Mid Sweden University
ISSS Two Day

Thursday August 6, 2015 16:00 - 16:30 CEST
Copenhagen 2 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

16:30 CEST

Positeams – Positive Systems Intelligent Teams, an Agent-Based Simulator for Studying Group Behaviour

Systems intelligence is the ability to act intelligently within complex systems involving interactions and feedback. Social groups are systems, i.e. wholes consisting of multiple mutually interacting parts, where the interactions often include non-linearities and feedback loops. Agent-based simulations have been used extensively to model social systems. In this paper we use a new systems intelligence perspective when analysing the performance of a team. We consider and model the dynamics of positivity in a social system. The goal is to help understand the full consequences of our behaviour, both positive and negative, and how we could change it for the benefit of the whole system. Agent-based simulations of social networks can provide useful insights into the underlying systems and introduce ideas to improve their performance. The dynamics of social systems can be difficult to understand because of their systemic nature. In addition, one seldom has an opportunity to view social systems from the outside, but rather one is an active part within the system with some power to affect its state. Agent-based simulations support the systems approach by emphasizing the holistic view on understanding the problem rather than focusing on its parts in isolation, facilitating personal decision making in social systems.

PoSITeams is a web-based multi-agent social simulator that simulates the dynamics and evolution of positive and negative affect in a team. People are greatly influenced by the emotions of others and positive emotional contagion has been linked to increased performance in social groups. In particular, the ratio of positive and negative affect has proven to be an especially useful parameter, and it has been successfully applied to predicting effective organizations and successful marriages. Also on the individual level the characteristic difference between flourishing and non-flourishing individuals has been observed to be the ratio of experienced positive and negative emotions. Thus simulating emotion dynamics can be used to better understand how to act more constructively within organizations. Our model is a discrete-time non-linear dynamic model, where the positivity ratio defines the agent's interaction style. The level of emotional contagion depends on the strength of the social contact between the agents and their personal characteristics, such as tendency to express and be influenced by emotions. Furthermore, the positivity ratio of the agents increases their resiliency against negative emotions as indicated by the positivity research.

The purpose of the simulator is to enable the user to simulate social groups of her own and explore the effects of different behavioural and structural changes. We are especially interested in engaging the user in reflective thought-processes and facilitate seeing the system as a whole and let the user recognize herself as an active part of the system, who is both able to affect the state of the system and is reciprocally influenced herself by the system, a concept known as systems intelligence introduced by Esa Saarinen and Raimo P. Hämäläinen. The simulator is also able to suggest systems intelligent actions by optimizing the total positivity of the group.

Compared to the related agent-based models for emotional contagion, our approach emphasizes the qualitative differences between the negative and positive affect as described by psychological research, namely the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions and the negativity bias, which motivate modelling the positive and negative affect separately. We also highlight the significance of positivity ratios to describe the performance of social groups.

Presenter / Artist
avatar for Teemu Tiinanen

Teemu Tiinanen

Aalto University
I currently work on systems intelligence, which is the ability to act intelligently within complex systems involving interaction and feedback. (see http://systemsintelligence.aalto.fi/). I am especially interested in developing methods to support systems intelligent behaviour in organizations.I... Read More →

Thursday August 6, 2015 16:30 - 17:00 CEST
Copenhagen 2 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

17:00 CEST

Agent-Based Modelling of Cooperation in WEEE Management: The Case of Colombia

As a result of population growth, technological development and change in consumption patterns, amounts of waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) have increased significantly in recent years. At the same time, the demand for natural and scarce resources like precious metals and rare earth elements required to produce electrical and electronic equipment has increased. As a result, urban mining has become a sensible means for curtailing the effects of increasing WEEE. This implies a systemic policy making approach which includes both consumer and producer responsibility in WEEE management. Moreover, cooperation between different actors is imperative. Therefore, policy making should involve a holistic understanding of the different processes in WEEE management (production, distribution, consumption, collection, recycling, disposal), its various but interdependent dimensions (technical, social, environmental, legislative, economic), as well as the diversity in actors and their respective interests and motivations. In this context, modelling and simulation tools become necessary to support policy makers in making more systemic decisions.

This paper proposes that, by linking actor-network theory (ANT) and agent-based modelling (ABM), policy makers are enabled to create an in-depth reconstruction of historical trajectories that can capture the dynamics that have led to collective patterns (whether successful or not). In addition, this ATN-ABM link helps to represent the agency of both human and non-human actors interacting in a particular environment. In this proposal ANT is used as a novel theoretical approach for ABM which has been applied within an exploratory case study in the context of WEEE. A methodological framework has been applied to design an agent-based model aimed at answering the following question: How to orchestrate individual interests of producers, distributors and WEEE managers to achieve stability of cooperation?

The purpose of the resulting model, implemented in Netlogo 5.2, is to illustrate the potential impact of different levels of cooperation between government, producers and distributors of electronic and electrical equipment, as well as managers of WEEE. Depending of the individual interests of parties and the starting point of the alliance, a potential stability of the cooperation is generated. This cooperation is materialized in the adoption and implementation of strategies aimed at improving WEEE sustainability. These strategies-towards-sustainability (STS) are mechanisms intended to encourage consumers to deliver their WEEE back to the system, and which include a mix of physical artefacts, economic incentives, educational strategies and supporting social-environmental projects. In addition, the STS could be implemented under either collective or individual scheme, and in both cases cooperation between producers and distributors is needed.

The agent-based model can generate simulated scenarios showing cooperation stability, depending on individual interests and agreements, and how they evolve towards alignment or otherwise breakdown. The various scenarios enable analysing and anticipating potential success of specific STS in transforming cooperation over time.

One of the main reasons for using ABM is that emergent collective patterns of behaviour can be explored. As preliminary results, e.g., although historically significant events in WEEE management, such as a regulatory milestone from environmental authorities, can generate an initial cooperation between actors, it does not provide high potential stability of the cooperation to develop. The ABM implemented also showed that when producers autonomously decide to implement individual take-back strategies (which anyway need cooperation producer–distributor), their interests can be satisfied; nevertheless, in a collective system the potential stability is higher. 

The scenarios generated in this ABM represent past events in the case study and help to define potential stability of cooperation that emerge based on the interest of actors involved in alliances and the origin of these agreements. However, it is necessary to show also the denouement of the cooperation in time, which is being developed through a complementary ABM that involves the dynamics between the STS and consumers behaviors.

Presenter / Artist
avatar for Ass. Prof. Sandra Méndez-Fajardo

Ass. Prof. Sandra Méndez-Fajardo

Assistant Professor, Javeriana University
PhD Candidate, Doctorate in Engineering, Javeriana University, Bogota, ColombiaSolid Waste Management, e-Waste, Agent-Based Modelling, Sustainability, Community participation

Thursday August 6, 2015 17:00 - 17:30 CEST
Copenhagen 2 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

17:30 CEST

A Systems Science Approach to Address the Urban Tourism Role in the Current Re-Urbanization Project of Mexico City

Nowadays, faster population growth as well as new lifestyles which societies have adopted, partly due to the intensive use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), have lead governments to provide alternatives to reduce the problems caused by population growth mainly in large cities, besides addressing the necessities and requests of their citizens and visitors. The aim of this research is to generate the first approaches for the urban tourism role, as one of the main Economic sectors for cities, in the Digital, Smart and Knowledge city (DSKC) of Mexico City under a systemic approach. Thus, the Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is applied. At the same time, the Strategic-Management Model (SMM) is used in a complementary and parallel way. The results achieved so far allow us to propose: i) a definition of the DSKC; ii) an approach to the urban tourism role in the DSNC; iii) a first outline of the systemic model of urban tourism in the DSKC of Mexico City; iv) the conflicts among the components of urban tourism and the DSKC; v) the key stakeholders of the system and; vi) the mission of the system in study, as well as feasible strategies to implement shortly to accomplish the mission. Hence, the bases are stablished in order to continue with the remaining steps of the Methodology and model for the construction of a systemic model proposal of the urban tourism incorporation in the DSKC of Mexico City.


Presenter / Artist

Prof. Oswaldo Morales-Matamoros

Professor, IPN

Thursday August 6, 2015 17:30 - 18:00 CEST
Copenhagen 2 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany