In the context of “Distinguished Lectures” lecture series, celebrating the 50 years of NCSR Demokritos, David S. Bree, Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the School of Computer Science in Manchester University, was invited. Prof. Bree’s lecture “Complex Systems approach to the social sciences” was given on the 28th of June.
The aim of the talk is to present a flavour of how the complex systems approach is being used as a modeling technique in the social sciences. By way of an introduction the simple but effective AB model of Sorin Solomon will be presented in its application to predator/prey modelling, illustrating why both can survive even when according to linear models one or both should become extinct. This will be followed with illustrations of the application of this model in the decline and rebirth of postcommunist countries and some related economic phenomena. Finally, some examples will be presented arising from my recent stay at the Center for Complex Systems Research of the Institute for Social Studies, Warsaw, where Andzej Nowak leads a programme to develop a Dynamical theory of Social Psychology. Time permitting these may include models of trust, of conflict at both the individual and ethnic levels, and social entrepreneurs (what enables them to be effective). Both the advantages and the limitations of applying the Complex Systems approach will be discussed.