AI can predict your future behaviour with powerful new simulations

A new form of AI modelling promises accurate simulation of how entire cities, countries and one day perhaps the world will behave

New Scientist / October 2, 2019


In simple terms, an artificial society is just a computer model similar to those that have been used for decades to understand complex dynamic systems, such as the weather. The first were built by physicists and chemists in the 1960s, but as the models increased in complexity, they were embraced by biologists and, in the past decade, social scientists.


One of the most useful techniques is agent-based modelling, which uses strings of computer code to represent agents, such as drivers navigating a route or companies competing in an economy. The agents are programmed to interact with one another and their virtual environment and change their behaviour accordingly. These models are useful for understanding how complex systems work, predicting how they will evolve and testing what happens if you intervene.