Computational Social Choice in the Wild: Lessons Learned from Two Voting Experiments in Political Elections
Abstract: The problem of electing a set of representatives that stand for a given society is at the heart of any reasonable democracy. This problem has been discussed for ages, and social choice theorists have proposed dozens of voting methods, that all have their own merits and properties (but all suffer from the same paradoxes). There exist many voting rules. Yet, mainly the most simple ones like plurality or first-past-the-post are commonly used for crucial political elections (except in a few countries). Suppose that we change the voting rule for such high-stake political elections. What impact would it have on the voters’ behaviour and on the result of the election itself? This has been the main topic of two different experiments that have been carried out in France in 2017. The first one was run during the French presidential election and involved more than 40,000 voters that were asked to test alternative voting rules to elect the French president. The second one was run after the legislative election and aimed at using computer simulations to evaluate the impact of a reform of this election. In his talk, Sylvain Bouveret will use these two experiments to illustrate what happens when computational social choice theorists go out of the labs in the wild world of political elections.
ShortBio: Sylvain Bouveret is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at
Grenoble INP, University Grenoble-Alpes. He obtained an engineering degree in 2004 and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toulouse in 2007. From 2007 to 2011 he worked as a Research Engineer at Onera Toulouse. His current research mainly concerns various aspects of Computational Social Choice, with a special focus on fair division of indivisible goods and voting. Although his main technical background is on algorithmics and complexity, he recently extended his research activities to data visualization and experiments in voting.
The myths and science of negotiation and other conversational practices
Abstract: Why do we think we know so much about negotiation, communication, and conversation when social scientists of all disciplines so often fail to capture and study actual talk in the wild? In this talk, Professor Elizabeth Stokoe will describe her work in conversation analysis, a field rooted in sociology and one which has been producing some of the most cited – yet relatively unknown – research in academia. Drawing on a variety of workplace and organizational settings, including crisis negotiation, medical communication, police interviews and commercial sales encounters, she will show how the analysis of conversation reveals its highly organized and systematic nature, and how research findings about what is (in)effective can underpin evidence-based communication training with integrity and impact.
Short Bio: Elizabeth Stokoe is Professor of Social Interaction in the School of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. She uses conversation analysis to understand how talk works – from first dates to medical communication and from sales encounters to hostage negotiation. Outside the university, she runs workshops with doctors, mediators, salespeople, police and other professionals using her research-based communication training method called the “Conversation Analytic Role-play Method”. She is a WIRED Innovation Fellow and her research and biography were featured on the BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific. In addition to publishing over 100 scientific papers and books, she is passionate about science communication, translating the world of conversation analysis for audiences of all kinds. She has given TED, New Scientist, Google and Royal Institution lectures, and performed at Latitude Festival (in the Wellcome Trust/British Psychological Society stage) and Cheltenham Science Festivals. Her book, Talk: The Science of Conversation, is published by Little, Brown (2018).
Raimo P. Hämäläinen
From Systems Thinking to Systems Intelligence – Foregrounding human behaviour in the Operations Research profession
Abstract: Systems Thinking is the basis of all Operations Research (OR) modelling and problem solving. The way we see the context and frame the problem determines the problem solving approach we take. However, in any practical OR project we also need to take into account the system created by the participatory problem solving process in which the OR professional, the problem owner and the stakeholders interact and co-operate. This brings in systemic human elements and dynamics which should not be ignored. They can include human cognitive characteristics and heuristics as well as emotional, cultural and social factors. These topics have earlier been discussed in the area of group decision making. The behavioural turn in OR has brought these themes into the attention of wider OR audiences. The practicing OR professional needs to learn to cope with communicational, emotional and social challenges as is the case in any other profession in the modern world. Understanding and describing systems from outside is not enough. We also need to learn to act intelligently from within the related ovelall system. Systems Intelligence (SI) is a perspective which addresses behavioural skills for the successfull engagement with systems created by people in systemic settings. In this talk I will discuss the systemic challenges in OR-based participatory problem solving and introduce the ideas and tools provided by the SI approach.
Short Bio: Raimo P. Hämäläinen is Emeritus Professor in the Systems Analysis Laboratory of Aalto University, Finland and Visiting Professor in Loughborough University, UK. He is the author of over 200 publications on decision making and negotiations, control and dynamic games, energy modelling and environmental decision making, and biological systems. He is also the designer of many widely used decision support systems. As a consultant he has helped to solve problems especially in the areas of environmental policy and risk analysis. Recently he has actively worked on the concept of Systems Intelligence and its use in organizational contexts. He is chair of the EURO Working Group on Behavioural OR and one of the initiators of this emerging new area in OR. Professor Raimo P. Hämäläinen is the Honorary President of the Finnish Operations Research Society and recipient of the Edgeworth-Pareto Award of the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making.