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Modeling of history and all that...


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#1
PhoenixRu

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I'm not sure is it suitable for "History" part... if not, let mods move it somewhere else.

 

Anyway, this will be a thread about multi-agent modeling of social / historical processes. There are already a lot of "artificial life" programs, you can easily find and download them. But "artificial societies" are much less common.

 

Fortunatelly, it's not so difficult to make them by yourself, especially with such tools as NetLogo. Even the very basic knowledge of coding allows you to create relatively complex worlds. Isn't this interesting and fascinating to watch peoples, empires and civilizations emerging, communicating, competing, and fading away on the screen of your monitor?

 

Just as example, this was one of my very first models called "Neolithic revolution" :) It required the quite simple and short code (with less symbols than in my post above):

 

Spoiler

 

Does anybody knows something similar? Or, maybe, tried to make them? Or place where to find them?


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#2
Maximus

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Am I the only one thinking "that could be us"?

 

I wonder if any game developers are looking into this concept; I would love to see a merger between Civ type graphics and this simulation game. 


If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#3
BasilBerylium

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I know a game called SimEarth that involves the evolution of planet, including the rise of states



#4
Yuli Ban

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I'd love to see a simulation of an economy that goes from natural/industrial to automated.


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#5
PhoenixRu

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I'd love to see a simulation of an economy that goes from natural/industrial to automated.

 

There is nothing impossible here. You can create the simplest model yourself.

 

Again, we need two types of agents: "capitalists" and "workers", both with two variables: "goods" and "money" plus one global variable called "technology". Capitalists hire workers and produce goods. Then they "sell" those goods to either workers or to each other. As "technology" advancing, capitalists getting the opportunity to produce more and more goods with less and less number of workers (here is your authomation). But the market for those goods will shrink.

 

Then, perhaps, we also need the single agent called "government" who will tax capitalists and redistribute money among poor to keep them afloat (welfare system). The level of taxes should rise with automation: the more jobless and hungry workers we have, the more money we need to support them. Eventually, almost all the capitalists go bankrupt & all the workers will evolve into jobless parasites sitting on welfare...


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#6
PhoenixRu

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=== here was post, but then i deleted it ===



#7
PhoenixRu

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My new NetLogo model of world history (was created, tested and tweaked during few cold and rainy days).

 

That's how it looks at start. Here you can see the world in 3000 BC with four initial "polities" in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Indus valley, and China. "Polity" represent any political entity: chiefdom, early civilization, national state, or province (if conquered by someone else). Also, each "polity" was given the simple AI determining its behavior: how to communicate with neighbors, whom to attack, and so on:

 

18428959.png

 

Then we press "GO" button and world history begins. Here are the screens from one of test runs (see below).

 

Year 2286 BC. First contact (yellow line) was established between two local civilizations in China. These contacts are very important to spread the new ideas and technologies. Uncontacted civilizations are doomed to stay relatively backward. Besides, initial Chinese civilization has founded its first colony (red dot connected by red line):

 

Spoiler

 

Year 1816 BC. The first technological breakthrough: Manchurian civilization entered the Iron Age (Max.Tech = 2). You can see this on the map: this Manchurian civ is now represented by bigger circle. The more advanced, the bigger:

 

Spoiler

 

Year 1715 BC. Alas, the first Iron Age was very short and the new technology was lost. How could this happen? Most likely, Manchuria established contact with China, which was stronger and immediately tried to conquer the new neighbor. Attack failed but, unfortunately for all, war has lead to technological degradation before new knowlege has spread to someone else. Well, history is full of such tragedies:

 

Spoiler

 

Year 917 BC. Second Iron Age began in Mesopotamia. By that time, you can see two native civilizations of New World (hardcoded, they're always appear in 1000 BC) and few early empires in the Old World. The largest of them are Chinese and Ethiopian empires:

 

Spoiler

 

Year 50 AD. About 1000 years have passed since last screenshot. These years were full of wars and uprisings, empires have grown bigger, and Egypt is now the most advanced society in the world, they have already entered the Middle Ages (Max.Tech = 3):

 

Spoiler

 

Year 654 AD, the peak of the Middle Ages. The Old World is now dominated by four Middle Eastern empires whose power stretches from Scandinavia to Central Africa and from Spain to Siberia. Eastward of them, the two empires - Chinese and Central Asian - are great in size but relatively backward:

 

Spoiler

 

Year 1130 AD. The world map has changed again. Ethiopia is the most powerful empire in the world (controls almost all the Africa) while Northern Russia (Novgorod?) became the most advanced and reached Early Renaissance (Max.Tech = 4). Central America was conquered and colonized by Aztecs who independently reached the Iron Age:

 

Spoiler

 

Year 1465 AD. The world becoming truly globalized, for the first time all the main civilizations of Old World are connected by contacts. Alas, Northern Russia is not a part of this community, our people were conquered (once again) by strong and advanced Mesopotamian empire.

 

And besides, just look at South America! Do you see this tiny green dot? This is the first democratic society. Democracy can arise everywhere (but more likely in rich and advanced societies than in poor and backward) and spreads like wildfire (but only from more to less advanced neighbors). It was an evil joke of history that democracy has arisen in such a place (terribly backward and still uncontacted nation):

 

Spoiler

 

Year 1579 AD. First contacts established between Old and New worlds. Ethiopian Empire collapsed under its own weight. In Europe, Poland was first who entered the Industrial Age (Max.Tech = 6):

 

Spoiler

 

Year 1926 AD. You could expect the fast progress since beginning of the Industrial Age, but no, this didn't happen... today, in 1926 AD, we're still using roughly the same muskets and steam engines as our ancestors three centuries ago. World is still ruled by kings and emprerors, and democratic ideas are still unheard of for the vast majority of the world population:

 

Spoiler

 

The situation didn't much changed by 2017 AD. The same pile of warring empires stuck in early Industrial Age, Aztecs are still controlling the Central and (partly) North America, the most of Australia is still undiscovered... such is the world we live in, whe world without freedom and hope... yes, there are two tiny uncontacted democratic societies in South America (1,25% of world population) but their best hope is to stay uncontacted as lond as possible:

 

Spoiler

 

=== === ===

 

Meanwhile, somewhere in the parallel universe... that's how mature civilization looks like. This is civilization with turbulent and violent past, but evolved into peaceful and democratic world community. And they're FOUR historical epochs ahead of our real world (i assumed that our current post-industrial society is Max.Tech = 8 while their Max.Tech = 12): 

 

Spoiler

 

=== === ===

 

If i'll have time and mood, i'll probably expand this model by adding cultures, world religions, socio-economic formations and some other stuff. The biggest problem is that this all may seriously slow down the running: 100-150 of complex communicating agents are too much for my poor computer...


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#8
Yuli Ban

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^ You mentioned how odd it is that democracy first arose in an otherwise backwards South American nation. But to be honest, we actually have no clue if this is or is not accurate. It's entirely possible that there were Native American democracies during or before the time of Greece and Rome— we know it was a thing with North American natives at least around the founding of Euro-America— but because the Europeans destroyed almost all South American aboriginal documents ("The natives are obviously Satanic barbarians, so any writing they have is clearly worthless and should be destroyed in the name of Our Lord!"), we have no written records either way. 

Hell, the whole panic with the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse was due to the fact the Spanish destroyed most, but not all, of the Mayan long calendar. I think we've only recently rediscovered an authentic Aztec book of writing.

 

If there was a dedicated aboriginal Library of Alexandria, it may be possible that they could've told of now long-forgotten civilizations that experimented with what we'd recognize as democracy. It's also possible that such civilizations never existed and democracy really did first arise in Greece.

 

 

ADD moment: you can guess a person's political persuasion by finding out which one of these beliefs they prefer (liberal/progressive: Imperialistic Europeans destroyed records of Native American democracies; conservative/traditionalist: Native American democracy never existed until the Iroquois Confederacy, 2,000 years after Greece already did it)


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Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#9
PhoenixRu

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Actually, the early forms of democracy aren't something rare and unusual, they existed in many corners of the globe. Yes, they could exist in pre-colonial America as well as in pre-colonial Africa. Here is the Russian example: medieval democracy which existed and flourished during three centuries (from XII to XV).


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#10
caltrek

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In viewing a movie version of The Last of the Mohicans, I got the definite sense that early Americans of European descent may have developed some of their notions of democracy through their communications with first nation peoples.  More broadly than that, they certainly learned about using guerrilla war tactics and developed greater confidence in their ability to govern themselves through the example of native neighbors.  

 

Tribal culture usually depends upon listening to the wisdom of the village elders.  While that is, strictly speaking, not democratic, it is easy to see how democratic forms can develop from that method.  Do the elders not themselves agree about what to do next - why not submit it to a vote and go along with the majority opinion?

 

...or at least move along to the next pasture while the majority stay behind to follow their chosen leader.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls





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