Saturday, April 23, 2016

How Small, Personal Biases can Shape Society

I ran across this simulation called "A Parable of the Polygons." In a nutshell, it demonstrates how an integrated society can become increasingly segregated over time if individuals harbor even a small amounts of personal bias towards living near their own kind.

It's fun to play around with the numbers. One thing that's interesting is that once segregation occurs, an elimination of bias doesn't result in greater mixing. I'd love to see a version of this with more "shapes" and where the bias can be manipulated to be different for some "shapes" than others.

While this demonstration focuses on physical proximity, it's possible that something similar could happen with regards to the choices people make about the books they want to read (both with regards to the gender or race of the authors or of the characters therein).

1 comment:

  1. A year and a half later . . .
    I just ran across your post about "mangst," and, as a guy who remembers both Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers (and that cool sproinggg sound they shared), as well as a writer who is working on getting his "strong woman" characters right, and I have to say that I agree with you. Right now I think that we're seeing the "Me too" Winter, the start of a major paradigm shift regarding women's rolls everywhere. Sure, the Feminists have been at it for a long time, and we men have obviously failed to get the work boots off Rosie the Riveter and push her back into her kitchen, but this could be where the whole thing gets real, public traction, especially if we can all agree that it's a flawed system as much as a bunch of bad men that's to blame.
    Since I'm not on Blogger, allow me to introduce myself. . .
    Ted Striker. You can find me on Facebook.