Discussion papers

CPM-17-192 - 26 September 2017

The Post-Truth Drift in Social Simulation

The paper behind a plenary talk given at Social Simulation 2017, Dublin, September 2017.


The paper identifies a danger in the field of social simulation a danger of using weasel words to give a false impression to the world about the achievements of our field. Whether this is intentional or unintentional, the effect might be to damage the reputation of the field and impair its development. At the root of this is a need for brutal honesty and openness, something that can be personally difficult and that needs social support. The paper considers some of the subtle ways that this kind of post-truth drift might occur, including: confusion/conflation of modelling purpose, wishing to justify pragmatic limitations in our work, falling back to unvalidated theory, confusing using a model for a way of looking at the world for something more reliable, and seeking protection from critique in vagueness. It calls on social simulation researchers to firmly reject such a drift.

See also the slides at http://slideshare.net/BruceEdmonds