The Mass Communications Department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) held a session on Computational Social Sciences on 2nd November, at UAEU. The session was delivered by Professor Jonathan Zhu, the founder of a data-mining laboratory in the College of Mass Communications at the City University of Hong Kong. Dr. Mohammed Musa, head of the Mass Communications Department and faculty all attended the event.
Professor Zhu discussed Computational Social Science (CSS), the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the development of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the 21st century. He elaborated on how to deal with these issues by using new methods in social sciences statistics and data analysis.
He explained that CSS refers to academic sub-disciplines concerned with computational approaches to the social sciences. This means that computers are used to model, simulate and analyze social phenomena in fields such as computational economics, computational sociology, cliodynamics, culturomics and the automated analysis of content in social and traditional media. CSS focuses on investigating social and behavioral relationships and interaction through social simulation, modeling and network and media analysis.
He pointed out that CSS has revolutionized scientific methodology. These changes effect empirical research (via Big Data) and allow us to analyze the digital footprint left behind by online social activities. CSS also includes scientific theory, especially through computer model simulation. It is a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach to social surveys, focusing on information processing through advanced information technology. This includes computational tasks, SGIS, E-social content and traditional media.
Professor Zhu explained that there is a trend in the humanities and social sciences to use more precise technical and media tools in order to analyze social phenomena.
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