The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is launching their Next Generation Social Science (NGS2) program. The NGS2 program aims to build and evaluate new methods and tools to advance rigorous, reproducible social science studies at scales necessary to develop and validate causal models of human social behaviors. It will draw upon and build across a wide array of disciplines—including social sciences like sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, and psychology, as well as information and computer sciences, physics, biology and math.
According to DARPA Program Manager Adam Russell:
Social science has done a remarkable job of helping us understand ourselves as the highly social creatures we are, but the field has long acknowledged and rued some frustrating research limitations, including technical and logistical limits to experimentally studying large, representative populations and the challenges of replicating key studies to better understand the limits of our knowledge. “As a result, it’s been difficult for social scientists to determine what variables matter most in explaining their observations of human social systems and to move from documenting correlation to identifying causation.
By developing and applying new methods and models to larger, more diverse, and more representative groups of individuals—such as through web-based global gaming and alternate reality platforms—NGS2 seeks to validate new tools that may empower social science in the same way that sophisticated telescopes and microscopes have helped advance astronomy and biology.
A proposer’s day will be held on March 22, 2016 in Arlington, VA.