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Journal Article

Stewardship of global collective behavior


Bak-Coleman,  Joseph B.
External Organizations;

Alfano,  Mark
External Organizations;


Barfuss,  Wolfram
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Bergstom,  Carl T.
External Organizations;

Centeno,  Miguel A.
External Organizations;

Couzin,  Iain D.
External Organizations;


Donges,  Jonathan Friedemann
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Galesic,  Mirta
External Organizations;

Gersick,  Andrew S.
External Organizations;

Jacquet,  Jennifer
External Organizations;

Kao,  Albert B.
External Organizations;

Moran,  Rachel E.
External Organizations;

Romanczuk,  Pawel
External Organizations;

Rubenstein,  Daniel I.
External Organizations;

Tombak,  Kaia J.
External Organizations;

Van Bavel,  Jay J.
External Organizations;

Weber,  Elke U.
External Organizations;

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Bak-Coleman, J. B., Alfano, M., Barfuss, W., Bergstom, C. T., Centeno, M. A., Couzin, I. D., Donges, J. F., Galesic, M., Gersick, A. S., Jacquet, J., Kao, A. B., Moran, R. E., Romanczuk, P., Rubenstein, D. I., Tombak, K. J., Van Bavel, J. J., Weber, E. U. (2021): Stewardship of global collective behavior. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 118, 27, e2025764118.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25663
Collective behavior provides a framework for understanding how the actions and properties of groups emerge from the way individuals generate and share information. In humans, information flows were initially shaped by natural selection yet are increasingly structured by emerging communication technologies. Our larger, more complex social networks now transfer high-fidelity information over vast distances at low cost. The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated changes to our social systems, with poorly understood functional consequences. This gap in our knowledge represents a principal challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and actions to address global crises. We argue that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline” just as medicine, conservation, and climate science have, with a focus on providing actionable insight to policymakers and regulators for the stewardship of social systems.