New research group is focusing on virtual societies that can predict people’s reaction on political-initiatives

Center for Modeling Social Systems (CMSS) has become a separate research group within NORCE. The group uses artificial intelligence to predict how individuals and societies understand and react towards different political initiatives or events like for example COVID-19 or a natural disaster. The goal is to give politicians and other decision makers a method to experiment with different instruments to solve social issues.

Sist oppdatert: Jan 27, 2022
Published Jan 11, 2022

Transport is the main climate sinner in Norway. Airplanes, cars, and other fossil fueled transportation constitutes for 31 percent of CO2 emissions. If politicians and other decision makers wants more sustainable transport, NORCE researchers can experiment in a virtual version of the Norwegian society by giving more resources to public transportation or raise charges on flights and fossil fueled vehicles. Afterwards, the researchers can see how individuals or society react towards these initiatives.

- With our virtual simulations of society, we can better understand the consequences of different initiatives. We can better predict how individuals or society understand and react towards different initiatives or events, and this can be a very useful tool for politicians and other decision makers, says Roger Normann, Chief Scientist in NORCE and Research Director of the CMSS group.

The models used by the group can, for instance, simulate what climate changes do to individuals and society’s desire for more sustainable transportation.

- We are especially focused on using the models to analyze complicated issues in society which can help politicians find initiatives that can solve problems within climate, integration of immigrants, fake news or sustainable transport, Normann adds.

Growing field within science

Center for Modeling Social Systems (CMSS) consists of four researchers who all work at the NORCE office in Kristiansand. The group has unique expertise within social simulation by using agent-based modeling and social forecasting methods and, additionally, the group has a big network of Norwegian and international contributors.

- Currently we are working on a project where we try to understand how individuals and society reacts to COVID-19, and what role social media plays for COVID-related anxiety, Normann exemplifies.

To predict how individuals and society understand and react to different events and initiatives is still a niche research area, but it has great perspectives, Jon Harald Kaspersen, Executive Vice President Health & Social Science, believes.

- This is going to be a growing research area in the future, and I am very happy that NORCE have four excellent researchers within this field. For instance, the models they use are usable in EU projects and I am sure this research area will get more attention in the years to come.

Besides Research Director Roger Normann, Center for Modeling Social Systems consists of Researcher I, F. LeRon Shults, Ivan Puga Gonzales and Patrycja Antosz, both Researcher II.