Scalable Cooperation
Research Advisor: 
Mission statement: 
Reimagining the way society organizes, cooperates, and governs itself

Over millennia, humans have invented various forms of social organization to govern themselves, ranging from tribes and clubs, to technocracies and democracies. These institutions enabled us to scale up our ability to coordinate, cooperate, exchange information, and make decisions. Today, instant connectivity, online social networks, pervasive algorithms, crowdsourcing, and big data can help us improve our existing cooperative institutions. More significantly, however, these technologies invite us to completely reimagine the ways in which organize, cooperate and govern. Our group aims to (1) understand how technology is reshaping the nature of human cooperation; and (2) imagine and design radically new ways of scaling up cooperation.

What We're Looking For: 

We are looking for students with a foundation in a technical or quantitative area, such as computer science, applied math, physics, economics, statistics, cognitive science, or social psychology. Students should also have knowledge and/or interest in areas such as complexity science, social networks, artificial intelligence, game theory, evolutionary biology, political science and/or behavioral economics. The best candidates will have clearly demonstrated skills in one or more of the following: data science, machine learning, information visualization, behavioral experiments, system implementation, or mathematical modeling.
Here are examples of the methods we use:

  • Building and deploying large-scale systems to facilitate new forms of cooperation, building on techniques from crowdsourcing, human computation, machine learning and artificial intelligence;
  • Using techniques from data science, statistics, and machine learning to analyze big data sets from online news, social media, sensors, phones, or our own deployed systems;
  • Designing and running online or lab-based behavioral experiments to explore social behavior;
  • Using mathematical, statistical and simulation modeling to produce deep insights into social phenomena;
  • Developing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems capable of ethical decision-making.

Exceptional students that do not match this description exactly will also be considered.

MIT Media Lab